Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 332–335 | Cite as

Additional Evidence is Needed to Recommend Acquiring a Dog to Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Response to Wright and Colleagues

  • Molly K. Crossman
  • Alan E. Kazdin
Letter to the Editor


Caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder are vulnerable to overstated benefits of interventions, and such overstatements are common with interventions involving animals. This response to Wright, Hall, Hames, Hardmin, Mills, the Paws Team, and Mills’ (2015) article, “Acquiring a Pet Dog Significantly Reduces Stress of Primary Careers for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Prospective Case Control Study,” details why that study’s conclusions are premature. Specific limitations of the study are detailed, including overstatements of the supportive literature, problems with the design, and mismatch between the findings and conclusions. The purpose is not to challenge the benefits of pet ownership, but to point out that those benefits have not yet been established.


ASD Autism Child Family Carer Dogs Intervention 


Author Contributions

MC initiated the idea for the paper and MC and AK were responsible for the writing and final version.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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