Washington, D.C. (December 7, 2020) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Pet Partners announced today a grant to Indiana University School of Medicine for a new research project, Canine-assisted anxiety reduction in pediatric emergency care (CANINE III). The study will investigate the impact of therapy dog visits on the anxiety levels of children in emergency care.
“Registered Pet Partners therapy dog teams visit hospitals throughout the country, and we know they can put a smile on a child’s face, no matter what they are going through,” said C. Annie Peters, President and CEO of Pet Partners. “Scientific research to validate the efficacy of therapy dogs in the emergency room has the potential to not only provide more children with much needed comfort and emotional support, but to also help serve as a complementary intervention to improve medical outcomes.”
“Virtually all children experience some degree of psychological stress as patients in the emergency department,” says the Principal Investigator, Jeffrey Kline, MD, IU School of Medicine “The inclusion of therapy dog visits in addition to a child-life specialist could provide a low cost, low risk method to help reduce child and parental anxiety in the emergency department.”
CANINE III is a NCT-registered, two-arm, block randomized trial with one to one matching of patients receiving therapy dogs as an adjunct with a child life specialist, compared with children who receive child life specialists alone. The children will receive a 15-minute visit, with the research team periodically collecting saliva samples to test for cortisol levels, or the level of stress. Dr. Kline will complete this project alongside co-investigator Alan Beck, PhD, Purdue University. The study will also test if therapy dogs afford greater anxiety reduction in children with psychiatric complaints, autism spectrum disorder, or brain injury, versus children with none of those conditions.
All study participants will be recruited from Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. Child participants will range from 5-17 years of age and have “moderate or greater anxiety” as reported by the parent or guardian. Parents of the child participants will also be tested for their anxiety levels before, during, and after the study to determine if the therapy dogs can also reduce anxiety in this population.
“One of the absolute unique and paradigm-changing aspects of this work is that dogs bring the dimensions of affection and unconditional caring to children and families during times of perceived emergency,” said Dr. Kline. “This objective is important because anxiety, stress, and ‘threat perceptions’ are major negative modifiers of the emergency department experience in adults and children.”
“HABRI is proud to be supporting research on the benefits of therapy dogs for children in the emergency room, which represents an important area of research,” said HABRI President Steven Feldman. “HABRI is grateful for the support of Pet Partners for this project, which we hope will provide further evidence of the complementary role of therapy dogs in human healthcare settings.”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and concurrent precautions in place at the Riley Children’s Hospital, the start of this project is currently on hold. The project will commence once in-person visitation is deemed safe and permitted.
About Pet Partners
Pet Partners is the national leader in demonstrating and promoting the health and wellness benefits of animal-assisted interventions. Since the organization’s inception in 1977, the science proving these benefits has become indisputable. With more than 13,000 registered teams making more than 3 million visits annually, Pet Partners serves as the nation’s most prestigious nonprofit registering handlers of multiple species as volunteer teams. Pet Partners teams visit with patients in recovery, people with intellectual disabilities, seniors living with Alzheimer’s, students, veterans with PTSD, and those approaching end of life, improving human health and well-being through the human-animal bond. With the recent release of its Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Interventions and international expansion, Pet Partners is globally recognized as the industry gold standard. For more information, visit www.petpartners.org.
HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit www.habri.org.
More Press Releases
Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act Funding Now Available: Aid for Survivors of Domestic Violence and their Pets Arrives at Critical Time
The PAWS Act Coalition, a group of nonprofit and for-profit organizations, is working to raise awareness among the domestic violence shelter community of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Emergency and Transitional Pet Shelter and Housing Assistance Grant Program. This program will support shelter and transitional housing services for survivors of domestic violence and their companion animals, which was made possible by the passage of the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act by Congress in 2018. “The PAWS Act funding and new grants mark an important milestone in keeping more pets and their families together,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, president of Nestlé Purina PetCare. “Purina is committed to continuing to work alongside our partners to increase the number of pet-friendly domestic violence shelters so families and their pets can safely leave an abusive situation and heal together.” “With incidents of domestic violence increasing as a result of coronavirus stay-at-home orders, the need for pet-friendly sheltering will also grow, and this funding could not have come at a better time,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI). “HABRI is proud to have participated in this two-plus year effort to support the successful implementation of the lifesaving PAWS Act. The PAWS Act Coalition and many in the greater pet care community have worked hard to make this grant program a reality.” The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will provide up to five grants of $400,000 each, to begin on October 1, 2020. The primary goal of this funding is to support shelter and transitional housing services for survivors of domestic violence and their companion animals. With these grants, the DOJ seeks to increase the number of shelter beds and transitional housing options to meet the needs of domestic violence survivors who need shelter or housing for them and their companion animals. Funding provided by this grant will also provide...
New Scientific Results: Asking Patients About Pets Enhances Patient Communication and Care
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), The University of Toronto, Markham Stouffville Hospital, and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan announced the publication of a study exploring whether Primary Healthcare Professionals asking their patients about the pets in the family would positively impact communication to gather clinically relevant information and improve patient care. “Results of our survey show that asking about pets in the family is an easy and effective way to build trust with a patient, strengthening the patient-provider therapeutic alliance,” said Kate Hodgson, DVM, MHSc, CCMEP, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. “When healthcare providers learn about the pets in patients’ lives, they are also developing an understanding about specific aspects of their patients’ environment and social history that can improve the delivery of healthcare.” “Having an exam-room conversation about companion animals helps healthcare providers learn important information about patients’ lifestyle and home life which can positively influence the way they evaluate and treat their patients,” said Alan Monavvari, MD, Chief of Family Medicine, MHSc, CCFP, CHE, CPHQ, at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Dr. Hodgson and Dr. Monavvari, along with co-authors Marcia Darling, BSc and Dr. Douglas Freeman, DVM, PhD, DipACT, analyzed results of a baseline and follow-up survey of 225 healthcare professionals asking about prevalence of patients living with pets, the health impact of pets, and influences on patient communication. Results revealed that patients are more open to talking to their healthcare providers about their pets, revealing clinically relevant information about how they live. Baseline and final surveys measured awareness of pets in patients’ families, assessment of determinants of health, impact on rapport with patients, and patient care. A sign test assessed difference in scores using repeated-measures...
Embrace Pet Insurance Supports Human-Animal Bond Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that Embrace Pet Insurance, one of the highest-rated U.S. pet insurance companies, has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research on the human health benefits of companion animals. “When pet owners become part of the Embrace family, we strive to strengthen the human-animal bond, especially when pet parents need it most,” said Ambrish Jaiswal, CEO of Embrace Pet Insurance. “By supporting HABRI, Embrace Pet Insurance is proudly helping to advance human-animal bond research that demonstrates the positive role that healthy pets play in our lives.” “We know from research that pets are considered part of the family, and that pet owners want what’s best for their four-legged family members,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “Embrace helps to provide and sustain healthy pets, so that, as family, they are protected against unexpected accidents and illnesses.” Scientific evidence increasingly shows that pets improve heart health; alleviate depression; increase well-being; support child health and development; and contribute to healthy aging. In addition, companion animals can assist in the treatment of a broad range of conditions from post-traumatic stress to Alzheimer’s disease to autism spectrum disorder. The benefits of the human-animal bond impact more than just human health. Findings from a recent HABRI survey of 2,000 pet owners demonstrate that knowledge of the scientific research on the human-animal bond motivates pet owners to take better care of their pets. From providing pets with higher quality nutrition to purchasing pet health insurance, spreading awareness of the health benefits of pet ownership improves pet health and welfare. “Embrace believes in giving back to the pet care community, and supporting HABRI research is perfectly aligned with our company values. We look forward to playing a supportive role for HABRI and helping discover more ways in...