Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) Research

WALTHAM science and publications in the area of human-animal interaction have been instrumental in helping to understand the special relationship between pets and people.


WALTHAM scientists work in partnership with research institutions and experts worldwide to improve our understanding of the role of pets can play in enhancing human health, child development and therapeutic programmes.

Recent studies show that pets are increasingly being considered as family members across many cultural and societal barriers. In the United States, for instance, a child is more likely to grow up with a pet in the household than with a father. So it is important that we better understand the role pets play in our lives. 

In 2007, WALTHAM was awarded the prestigious Pioneer Award from the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations (IAHAIO) for helping to develop the field of investigation into the human-animal bond.  


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Since then, our work in this field includes over 40 original research studies. These explore the role of pets in healthy childhood development, their role in healthy communities, and the clinical potential of human-animal interaction (HAI) in supporting treatment of conditions as diverse as obesity, autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder in children and adults.  

In 2008, WALTHAM partnered with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), to fund multiple investigations and conduct key workshops to connect experts in the field. This collaboration continues to explore the

roles pets play in promoting optimal development in children and adolescents.  

WALTHAM has also long supported the dissemination of research findings through sponsorship of key conferences such as the International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ) and IAHAIO. Together, WALTHAM and our partners have invested over $10 million in original HAI research to help build the field and deliver credible peer-reviewed studies.

This section contains information about the current and ongoing human-animal interaction research projects that WALTHAM is funding or conducting.

Further reading on HAI

Dynamic interactive search of Human Animal Interaction Research

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