Can therapy dogs help with the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children? A study conducted by researchers at the University of California – Irvine School of Medicine has found that canine assisted intervention (CAI) can improve quality of life for children with ADHD.
A study of children aged 7-9 who have been diagnosed with ADHD but did not take medications found that working with certified therapy dogs lessened the severity of symptoms in the children.
The dogs were most beneficial in improving the kids’ attention and social skills. They displayed fewer behavioral problems than children who did not receive canine assisted intervention.
The researchers note that parents who are reluctant to medicate children with ADHD might want to explore the use of CAI instead.
“The take away from this is that families now have a viable option when seeking alternative or adjunct therapies to medication treatments for ADHD, especially when it comes to impaired attention,” said the study’s lead researcher. “Inattention is perhaps the most salient problem experienced across the life span for individuals with this disorder.”