Pets Help in Hospitals, But Safety May Be Lacking

Marzo 30, 2017 Food

A visit from a golden retriever can brighten a person’s day when in the hospital or in a senior-care facility. But the policies for pet therapy programs in health care facilities may fall short in protecting the people and pets involved, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that hospitals typically had stricter health and safety policies for animal-visitation programs than eldercare facilities did. Those facilities tended to have fewer requirements to confirm that visiting pets were healthy and had up-to-date immunizations, for example. The findings were published online (June 19) in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The facilities surveyed didn’t always have strong policies in place to ensure that their animal therapy programs were safe and effective for both the participants and the visiting animals, said veterinarian Deborah Linder, the lead author of the study and associate director of the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction at Tufts University in North Grafton, Massachusetts. [10 Things You Didn’t Know About Dogs]