Family Physician Survey

Pets and Health: Family Physician Survey

The Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) partnered with Cohen Research Group to conduct an online panel survey of 1,000 family doctors and general practitioners. This is the largest survey of its kind to explore doctors’ knowledge and attitudes towards the human health benefits of pets.

The 28-question survey was conducted in late August 2014 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%. The physicians in the survey had a median of 18 years of practice experience.

Most Doctors have successfully worked with animals in medicine.

69% have worked with them in a hospital, medical center, or medical practice to assist patient therapy or treatment. They report interactions with animals improve patients’ physical condition (88%), mental health condition (97%), mood or outlook (98%), and relationships with staff (76%).

Doctors overwhelmingly believe there are health benefits to owning pets.

97% reported that they believe there were health benefits that resulted from owning a pet.

The majority of doctors have recommended a pet to a patient.

60% of doctors interviewed have recommended getting a pet to a patient. 43% recommended the pet to improve overall health and 17% made the recommendation for or a specific condition.

Most doctors have seen their patients’ health improve as a result of pet ownership.

75% of physicians said they saw one or more of their patients overall health improve, and 87% said their patients’ mood or outlook improved.

Doctors are willing to prescribe pets.

74% of doctors said they would prescribe a pet to improve overall health if the medical evidence supported it; 8% said they would prescribe a pet for a specific condition.