Animal assisted therapy for children and adolescents

Section: Revisiones


Lidia Tomás Cánovas1, Ana Victorio Molina1


1Enfermera. Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Arrixaca. Murcia

Contact email:


Objective: to understand and analyze the evidence regarding the usefulness of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) in children and adolescents, either healthy or suffering chronic or acute diseases.
Method: a narrative review of literature was conducted in the following databases and browsers: Dialnet, Pudmed, Scielo and Google Scholar, on articles published during the past 15 years, in Spanish and English, about the topic of the study. The descriptors used for the search were: Animal Assisted Therapy (terapia asistida por animales), adolescent (adolescente), child (niño); the Boolean operator and was included in order to join the different key words.
Results: the search yielded 56 articles in total; 48 of these were excluded due to the exclusion criteria determined, and 17 were included according to the inclusion criteria. The documentary review generated the following categories for analysis; Management of emotions, Social interaction and motivation, Behavioural level, Language learning-management, and Pain and risk of infection. AAT is beneficial for children and adolescents, as well as for their family environment, and promote physical as well as social and emotional improvement.
Conclusions: ATT is beneficial as a complementary therapy to primary treatment; it also causes a better management of emotions, an improvement in social interaction, a high behavioural development and language management, and it will even contribute to the reduction in the pain threshold.


Animal assisted therapy; Children; zootherapy; adolescents

Versión en Español


Terapia asistida por animales en niños y adolescentes