Therapy Dogs Reduce ADHD Symptoms: New Study

Substantiating previous clinical and anecdotal evidence, researchers in a recent study found that therapy dogs were effective in reducing the symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. 


Therapy dogs effective in reducing symptoms of ADHD, study finds

In a first of its kind randomized trial, researchers from the UCI School of Medicine found therapy dogs to be effective in reducing the symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children…

Study Overview

The research involved children aged 7 to 9 who had been diagnosed with ADHD and who had never taken medicines for their condition. The study randomized participants to compare benefits from evidenced-based, “best practice” psychosocial interventions with the same intervention augmented by the assistance of certified therapy dogs…

Study Results

Results from the research indicate children with ADHD who received canine assisted intervention (CAI) experienced a reduction in inattention and an improvement in social skills…the group assisted by therapy dogs fared significantly better with improved attention and social skills at only eight weeks and demonstrated fewer behavioral problems…


The study illustrates that the presence of therapy dogs enhances traditional psychosocial intervention and is feasible and safe to implement.

Other Findings:  Therapy Dogs

Animal assisted intervention (AAI) has been used for decades, however, only recently has empirical evidence begun to support these practices reporting benefits including reduced stress, improved cognitive function, reduced problem behaviors and improved attention.


Publication of study findings: The American Psychological Association in the Society of Counseling Psychology’s Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin (HAIB) and the Proceedings of the International Society for Anthrozoology 2018 Conference, July 2-5 in Sydney, Australia.