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The role of assistance dogs in society

Audrestch, Hilary M.; Whelan, Chantelle T.; Grice, David; Asher, Lucy; England, Gary C.W.; Freeman, S.L.


Hilary M. Audrestch

Chantelle T. Whelan

David Grice

Lucy Asher

Gary C.W. England

Professor of Veterinary Surgery


Assistance dogs are specially trained to undertake a variety of tasks to help individuals with disabilities. This review gives an overview of the different types of assistance dogs in the UK, including guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility assistance dogs, service dogs and dual purpose dogs. The literature describes many benefits of assistance dogs, including their impact on physical wellbeing and safety of their ‘owners,’ as well as on psychological wellbeing and social inclusion. The role of assistance dogs in society is widely recognized by the public, but is not currently acknowledged in government social policy. The current evidence on the benefits of assistance dogs is limited by the type and scale of current research. This article highlights the need for independent funding for high quality research to enable social care and policy makers to make evidence-based decisions on the value of assistance dogs to people with disabilities.


Audrestch, H. M., Whelan, C. T., Grice, D., Asher, L., England, G. C., & Freeman, S. (in press). The role of assistance dogs in society. Disability and Health Journal, 8(4),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 1, 2015
Online Publication Date Jul 23, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 22, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 22, 2016
Journal Disabililty and Health Journal
Electronic ISSN 1876-7583
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 4
Keywords assistance dogs, social, impact
Public URL
Publisher URL


Assistance Dogs Paper CW SF CW 09 12 14.pdf (132 Kb)

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