Child and her dog

Human Animal Interaction

The stress-buffering effects of child-dog interactions

Our latest Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) research highlights the important role that dogs play in children's lives.

While previous research has investigated the calming effects of dogs during stressful situations for children, this new study more closely mimicked the type of interactions that children experience with dogs in their daily lives. 

55 children aged between 8 and 10 years old and 54 dogs participated in the study by Gitanjali E. Gnanadesikan et al. Over three visits, urine and saliva samples were collected from the child and dog before, during and after they interacted. 

The results revealed that both the child's and the dog's salivary cortisol decreased after interacting. This effect was most potent for children strongly bonded to their dogs.

What does this mean for pets?

Overall, the findings build on previous research and suggest positive implications for the continual use of therapy dogs with children, which, according to this study, are likely mutually beneficial for both parties. 

Finally, these findings add weight to previous HAI research. They provide more evidence of the benefits pets bring to our lives. This is why we, in turn, should benefit theirs by building A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS™.