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Animal Assisted Interventions

‘Animals are used to help humans in different ways. Studies suggest that the effects of pet ownership can be beneficial to physical, social and psychological wellbeing. Research has found that stroking a pet can be relaxing and can result in a reduction in blood pressure. The presence of pets can also promote social interaction and reduce psychological responses to anxiety’ Hall & Malpus (2000) Pets as therapy: effects on social interaction p. 2220. Use this guide to find information resources about animal assisted interventions including books, journal articles and reports.

Last updated: 10/01/2022

Key Resources

Publication cover Royal College of Nursing (2019) Working with dogs in health care settings. A protocol to support organisations considering working with dogs in health care settings and allied health environments. 2019 revision. London: RCN.
Glenk L M (2017) Current perspectives on therapy dog welfare in animal-assisted interventions, Animals, 7(2), 7.
Jones M G , Rice S M, Cotton S M (2019) Incorporating animal-assisted therapy in mental health treatments for adolescents: A systematic review of canine assisted psychotherapy, PLoS One, 14(1), e0210761.
Rooney N J, Guest C M, Swanson L C M, Morant S V (2019) How effective are trained dogs at alerting their owners to changes in blood glycaemic levels?: Variations in performance of glycaemia alert dogs, PLoS ONE, 14(1), e0210092.
Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust (2011) Animals within healthcare settings policy, Hampshire.
Pets as therapy
Hall PL and Malpus Z (2000) Pets as therapy: effects on social interaction in long-stay psychiatry, British Journal of Nursing, 9(21), pp.2220-2225.
University of Lincoln:  Lincoln education assistance with dogs
University of Lincoln.  The Blue Dog project: preventing dog bites in children, Lincoln: University of Lincoln.
Society for companion animal studies, SCAS. 
Dogs for Good (2016) Annual report & financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2016, Banbury: Dogs for Good.
Assistance dogs UK: The law
University of Stirling: Paws for progress: 
Yap E, Scheinberg A and Williams K (2017) Attitudes to and beliefs about animal assisted therapy for children with disabilities, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 26, pp.47-52. 


Book covers Barker S B, Vokes R A and Barker R T (2019) Animal-assisted interventions in health care settings: a best practices manual for establishing new programs. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press.
Book cover Binfet J and Hartwig E K (2019) Canine-assisted interventions: a comprehensive guide to credentialing therapy dog teams. New York: Routledge.  
Boynton Boynton A (2018) Therapy Animals. South Egremont: Red Chair Press.
Chandler animal assisted

Chandler C K (2017) Animal assisted therapy in counselling. Florence: Taylor and Francis.

Chandler and Otting Chandler C K  and Otting T L  (2018) Animal-Assisted Interventions for Emotional and Mental Health: Conversations with Pioneers of the Field. London: Routledge Ltd.
Eckersley J (2016) Therapy Pets : A Guide. London: SPCK. Eckersley J (2016) Therapy Pets : A Guide. London: SPCK.
Fine handbook

Fine A H (2019) Handbook on animal-assisted therapy: foundations and guidelines for animal-assisted interventions. 5th edn. San Diego: Elsevier Science.

Fong - emerging zoonoses Fong IW (2017) Emerging zoonoses: A worldwide perspective. Cham: Springer.
Avery 2018

Hurt A E (2018) Therapy Animals. New York, NY: Enslow Publishing.

Book cover Jenkins M A (2019). Transforming Trauma (New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond). West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press. 
Snyder complimentary and alternative Snyder M and Lindquist (editors) (2018) Complementary and alternative therapies in nursing. 8th edn. New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Book subject searches

Journal articles

Use these links to see details of journal articles on each topic. This will carry out a live search for articles.  



RCN Public Lecture: From detection dogs to therapy pets: animals in health.

BBC News: Don't be scared to let animals on wards, say nurses (21st June 2017).

BBC News: Polmont inmates to train dogs in bid to boost behaviour (25th November 2010).

PetsAsTherapy Flickr (photos).

Animal Assisted Therapy Programs of Vienna (2016) Publications and recommended reading webpage.

RCN library staff

Kat Black

Editor of this guide

RCN Library and Archive Service

Page last updated - 10/01/2022