Domestic dogs and human health: An overview
Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
2007 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Health Psychology
Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 145–156, February 2007
How to Cite
Wells, D. L. (2007), Domestic dogs and human health: An overview. British Journal of Health Psychology, 12: 145–156. doi: 10.1348/135910706X103284
- Issue published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Received 15 September 2005; revised version received 2 February 2006
Purpose. The domestic dog is one of the most commonly owned, and widely utilized, animals in today's society. This paper provides an overview of research that has explored the relationship between the domestic dog and human well-being.
Methods. The article initially concentrates on the value of dogs for physical health in humans, exploring the evidence that this species can prevent us from becoming ill, facilitate our recovery from ill-health, and even serve as an early warning system for certain types of underlying ailment including cancer, oncoming seizures and hypoglycaemia. The paper then examines the relationship between dogs and psychological health in humans, exploring the ability of this species to aid the disabled and serve as a therapist to those in institutional settings such as hospitals, residential homes and prisons. Weaknesses in the existing research in this area are highlighted throughout the article.
Conclusion. Taken together, the studies reviewed suggest that dogs can have prophylactic and therapeutic value for people.