Dogs as an Intervention for Behavioral Symptoms of Older Adults with Dementia: A Systematic Review
Dementia--Patients--Care; Dementia--Treatment; Animals--Therapeutic use
The purpose of this systematic review was to determine if dogs are an effective occupational therapy intervention for reducing agitation and increasing social participation among older adults with symptoms of dementia by examining and rating the current published evidence. Studies were included if a dog was the primary intervention, and participants were at least 65 years of age with a diagnosis of dementia. Eleven studies were identified that met inclusion criteria. A majority of those studies found that the use of a dog reduced agitated behaviors and promoted social participation in older adults with dementia. While the variability in the methodology of the interventions in these studies make specific clinical recommendations difficult to determine, the current literature does suggest that animal assisted therapy would be an effective intervention strategy for occupational therapists working with clients in all stages of dementia.
Anne B. James
Date of Completion
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT)
Date of Award
University of Puget Sound