Pet Therapy Intervention Summary

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Of the four studies under review, each intervention included real dog therapy for older adults with dementia living in a long term care facility, which included grooming, petting, and playing with a dog. Marx et al (2010) not only utilized real dog therapy, but also added a unique aspect of dog related stimuli which included puppy videos, dog coloring activities, plush dogs and robotic dogs. The length of the actual intervention sessions varied greatly, where Marx’s sessions were as little as 3 minutes, Seller’s were 15 minutes, and Nordgren’s along with Richeson’s sessions ranged from 45 to 60 minutes. Changes in the length of intervention sessions may have been due to attention span of the clients, and Nordgren (2014) specifically tailored the length of intervention for each client needs. Overall, each study looked at social and behavioral domains. Sellers and Richeson specifically tested for changes in socialization and agitated behaviors, while Nordgren and Marx looked at factors including quality of life and time of engagement in AAT.

Pet therapy studies have found that engagement with real dogs and dog stimuli may lead to changes
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As previously discussed, unmet needs such as improper care, lack of interest in activities, or lack of attention and compassion are all factors which may lead to agitated behaviors (Bidwell & Chang, 2010). Therefore, attention and unconditional love of an animal can create several opportunities for a more successful treatment of the resident. Agitated behaviors may be reduced by fulfilling the unmet needs of the resident, leading to increased mood and increased socialization. The resident may feel a sense of care and belonging with the animal and other residents, and promote a better quality of life for the residents engaging in the intervention (Bidwell & Chang,

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