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Br J Health Psychol. 2007 Feb;12(Pt 1):145-56.

Domestic dogs and human health: an overview.

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Canine Behaviour Centre, School of Psychology, Queen's University Belfast, UK.



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.


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.


Taken together, the studies reviewed suggest that dogs can have prophylactic and therapeutic value for people.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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