top of page

Recent study on Dog-Assisted Therapy in Neurohabilitation of Children with Severe Neurological Impai

Alina Simona Rusu

June 2, 2021

A recent study on the effects of Dog-Assisted Therapy (DAT) in neurorehabilitation of children with severe neurological impairments was published in 2020 in Neuropediatrics by Karin Hediger (University of Basel, Switzerland) and her colleagues from Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The full text can be accessed here:

The study provides a retrospective analysis of 850 DAT sessions performed between 2010-2017 at an inpatient rehabilitation center on 196 children and adolescents suffering with severe neurological impairments. Information regarding patient and session characteristics, the activities with the dogs (direct and/or indirect contact), as well as the pre-defined and achieved therapeutic goals are presented in a comprehensive manner. The authors reported that the most frequently achieved therapeutic goals were enhancing fun, establishing contact and communication, and relaxation. In terms of clinical implications, the documented experience indicates that it is possible to organize DAT for children and adolescents with severe neurological impairments even when patients are at early ages and they are still under intensive inpatient medical care. Hence, the findings highlight the feasibility of DAT in pediatric neurorehabilitation, but also stresses the importance of careful screening process, as well as of hygiene procedures and of clear protocols for DAT treatment.


bottom of page