Study Finds That Dogs Are Good for Families With Autistic Children


Editor’s note: Have you seen the Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our April-May issue. Subscribe to Dogster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

A long-term study conducted by the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation and published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that families that have children with autism spectrum disorders and also have pet dogs had significantly improved family functioning compared to similar families without dogs. The study also reported fewer parent-child dysfunctional interactions in families that had a dog.

The study’s principal investigator, Daniel Mills, BVSc, Ph.D., a professor with the University of Lincoln, U.K., said, “We found a significant, positive relationship between parenting stress of the child’s main caregiver and their attachment to the family dog.”

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