The effects of pet therapy on the social behavior of institutionalized Alzheimer's clients

Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 1989 Aug;3(4):191-8.


Twelve (N = 12) Alzheimer's (AD) residents of a Special Care Unit in a large midwest Veterans' Home were observed for the effects of the presence of a pet dog on eight social behaviors: smiles, laughs, looks, leans, touches, verbalizations, name-calling, and others. Observations took place on three separate occasions (absence of dog, temporary presence of the dog, and permanent placement of the dog) in both group and individual settings. The results showed that the presence of the dog increased the number of total social behaviors of the AD clients, but no differences were found in behaviors between the temporary and permanent placement of the dog.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / nursing
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Human-Animal Bond*
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology
  • Object Attachment*
  • Psychiatric Nursing / methods
  • Social Behavior*