Publication Date


Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Irene Gonzales

Second Advisor

Virgil Parsons


Introduction: In a technologically advanced health care system, health care providers continue to care for the physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of their patients. Alternative therapies, such as massage, music, and aroma therapy, are often included in such holistic care. Pet therapy is another form of alternative therapy that appears to be beneficial. Method: Child life coordinators and play therapists from 100 pediatric hospitals in 44 U.S. states were sent an email invitation to participate in the study by completing an online survey. Results: From the children's hospitals responding, it appears that pet therapy is used in the majority of the settings, and with most age groups, excluding infants. The majority of respondents had favorable attitudes towards pet therapy, although the preliminary data show a lack of knowledge about pet therapy among health care providers. Discussion: Pet therapy is used in various hospital settings; more research is required to provide data that support the effects of pet therapy use with hospitalized children.