Having a pet dog helps reduce ADHD symptoms

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Having a pet dog around the home can reduce a child's ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) symptoms—and especially problems with inattention, researchers have found.

It's a viable alternative to taking ADHD medication such as Ritalin, say researchers at the University of California at Irvine.


A group of ADHD children aged between seven and nine who were not taking drugs for their problem underwent 'psychosocial interventions' and some also had a specially-trained dog in their home.

Although symptoms improved in both groups, those who also had a dog had "significantly better" attention and social skills after 12 weeks. Parents also reported a big improvement in their children's overall behaviour.

There weren't improvements in hyperactivity or impulsivity in either group, however.

(Source: proceedings of the International Society for Anthrozoology 2018 conference, July 2-5, Sydney, Australia)

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