Results Show 75% of Doctors said Patients’ Health Improved as the Result of Getting a Pet
Washington, D.C. (October 27, 2014) — The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation, today released the results of a first-of-its-kind survey detailing the views of family physician on the benefits of pets to human health.
“Doctors and their patients really understand the human health benefits of pets, and they are putting that understanding into practice” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative funds research on the evidence-based health benefits on humananimal interaction, and this survey demonstrates that we are on the right track.”
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, attitudes and behavior regarding 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.
Among the survey’s key findings:
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 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.
The survey also revealed that while 69% of doctors at least occasionally discussed the health benefits of pets with patients, 56% identified “time constraints” as the biggest barrier to having these discussions.
“The science shows that pets can help with a wide range of health conditions – from heart health to depression to PTSD,” Feldman added. “HABRI hopes that this survey will help break down the barriers and get more doctors and their patients talking about the important, scientifically-validated health benefits of pets.”
The HABRI Foundation maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of pets and other animals; informs the public about human-animal bond research; and advocates for public policies that support the beneficial role of pets in society.
Founded by The American Pet Products Association (APPA), Petco Animal Supplies Inc., and Zoetis, the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) is a non-profit foundation that serves as a rallying point for a growing assembly of companies, organizations and individuals with the common goal of demonstrating that our relationship with pets and animals makes the world a better place by significantly improving human health and quality of life. For more information about the HABRI Foundation, please visit www.habri.org.
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World Pet Association Supports Human-Animal Bond Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced that the World Pet Association has made a $25,000 donation to help gather, fund and promote scientific research that demonstrates the human health benefits of pet ownership. “The World Pet Association’s commitment to researching the human-animal bond helps demonstrate the value of pets and the pet industry to society,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “Support and active participation from leaders like the World Pet Association is vital to advancing the science that demonstrates the positive roles they play in the integrated health of individuals, families and communities.” The HABRI Foundation maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to demonstrate the health benefits of pets and other animals; informs the public about human-animal bond research; and advocates for public policies that support the beneficial role of pets in society. “WPA is pleased to be able to assist HABRI fulfill their mission of providing information about the benefits of pet ownership,” said Word Pet Association President Doug Poindexter. “Having these resources in one place and readily available is critical to the long term welfare of the industry.”
New Study to Examine Benefits of Pets for Older Americans
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) today announced it has awarded a $43,000 grant to the University of Missouri for a new study to explore how companion animals effect social engagement and psychological well-being in adults ages 55+. The primary objective of the study is to examine the influence of companion animal ownership on the social engagement (social contacts and organizational participation) and psychological well being (life satisfaction and depression) of adults. It aims to discover if companion animal owners have better social engagement and well-being than those who do not during mid- (55-64 years) and later (65+) adulthood, in addition to exploring the differences between the two age groups. “We are excited to be able to look at how having a cat or dog impacts social engagement and mental health for middle-aged and older adults,” said Dr. Rebecca Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP, lead investigator and professor at the University of Missouri. “We believe that people who have a dog or cat will be less socially isolated, have lower depression, and higher life satisfaction compared to non-pet owners.” The research team will analyze data from a recent national study, the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and utilize a novel approach in looking at those individuals who participated in an experimental human-animal interaction portion of the survey to provide a robust contribution to information on how companion animals can impact this demographic. The project is expected to be complete in one year. “With 75 million baby boomers entering mid and later adulthood it is vital that we understand how everything, including pets, can improve their lives,” said HABRI Executive Director Steve Feldman. “With the results of this study in hand, potential pet owners will have new information about the benefits of bringing a pet into their lives, and health care providers could more frequently consider prescribing pets for older Americans in their care.”
whiskerDocs Supports Human-Animal Bond Research
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