During the last decades, animal assistance in therapy, education, and care has greatly increased. Today, the value of animal-assisted interventions [AAI, including animal-assisted therapy (AAT) and activities] is widely acknowledged. In the light of the rapid development of the practice of AAI, research evaluating the effects of AAIs as well as studies investigating the basic effects of human-animal interaction (HAI) and the underlying mechanisms seem to lag behind.
Still, there is already quite a body of scientific literature on this topic. However, this is spread out over a number of journals and fields, constraining an integrative view. In the following, we will provide an overview of studies assessing effects of AAI as well as pet ownership which meet certain scientific criteria.