Pet Ownership Saves $11.7 Billion in Health Care Costs | HABRI

Pet Ownership Saves $11.7 Billion in Health Care Costs

Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Releases New Economic Study

Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Releases New Economic Study

Washington, D.C. (December 14, 2015) — The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced the findings of a new economic study on the healthcare cost savings associated with pet ownership. The economic analysis, conducted by two researchers from George Mason University, calculated an $11.7 billion savings in U.S. healthcare costs as a result of pet ownership.

“There was abundant research to show that pets have a positive effect on our health, but this is the first time that anyone has looked at the impact on the U.S. healthcare system,” said study co-author Terry L. Clower, PhD Northern Virginia Chair and Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University’s School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs and Director of its Center on Regional Analysis. “Our analysis shows that pet ownership produces meaningful savings for total health care costs in the United States.”

“Thinking about things that people should do to maintain their health, ‘get a pet’ belongs on that list,” said HABRI Executive Director, Steven Feldman. “When health insurance companies are looking at wellness incentives to keep costs down, pet ownership provides another way for people to stay healthy and save money.”

The largest savings was determined based on a lower incidence of physician office visits by pet owners as compared to non-owners. According to the study, 132.8 million pet owners in the United States visit a doctor 0.6 times less than the average non-pet owners. The average cost of a physician office visit is $139. Pet owners, in this way, were responsible for saving $11.37 billion in U.S. healthcare costs.

Additional savings were calculated for dog owners who walk their dog five or more times a week. This group, totaling more than 20 million people, shows a lower incidence of obesity, and were responsible for saving $419 million in related healthcare costs.

While additional health benefits associated with pet ownership have been documented by scientific research, the economists were unable to determine specific cost data associated with those findings. Researchers looked at scientific studies showing a positive impact from pet ownership on infection control, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cholesterol, allergies, stress, blood pressure and psychological issues, and concluded that further economic data was necessary before healthcare savings could be calculated. According to the report, “because this analysis is limited and conservative, the health care cost savings associated with pet ownership is likely to be even greater.”

The full report can be found on the HABRI website, www.habri.org.

“As HABRI continues to fund human-animal bond research, we will look for ways to measure specific economic variables that measure additional health care cost savings,” Clower added.

About HABRI

Founded by Petco, Zoetis, and the American Pet Products Association and supported by a growing number of organizations, the HABRI Foundation maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; to date has funded more than half a million dollars in innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals; and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information about the HABRI Foundation, visit www.habri.org.

Contact

Jamie Baxter

jamie@theimpetusagency.com

775.322.4022

###

Press Releases
With Announcement of 2017 Research Grants, Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) Hits $2 Million Level for Research Support

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) today announced funding for four new research grants focused on the effects of human-animal interaction on human health, including social skills outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorder; the physical and developmental health of children living with family pets; and the mental health and well-being of seniors living alone. These four grant projects raise HABRI’s total research funding to more than $2 million. “The companies and organizations that make HABRI’s research program possible deserve the credit for hitting the $2 million dollar milestone,” said Bob Vetere, HABRI President and Chair of the Board of Trustees. “With their support, HABRI is building a strong pipeline of high-quality research projects that are showing how pet ownership is essential for human health and wellness.” Since HABRI’s founding in 2010, HABRI has funded 21 competitive research projects from institutions across the globe, and has supported the creation of the world’s most comprehensive online library of human-animal interaction research, bringing its research funding to more than $2 million. In 2017, HABRI awarded a total of approximately $200,000 to the following four research projects, identified by the expert HABRI Scientific Advisory Board out of a total of 48 proposals received: Heidi Ewen, PhD (University of Georgia Research Foundation): Healthy Aging: Human Companionship Through Fostering Felines Gretchen Carlisle, PhD (University of Missouri): Shelter Cat Adoption in Families of Children with Autism: Impact On Children’s Social Skills and Anxiety as Well as Cat Stress Alexandra Protopopova, PhD (Texas Tech University): Integration of AAI and Applied Behavior Analysis to Improve Academic Performance in Children with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability Hayley Christian, PhD (The University of Western Australia): The Health and Developmental Benefits of Companion Animals for Young Children: Advancing...

Press Releases
New Study to Examine Wellness Effects of Animals on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) today announced it has awarded a $40,000 grant to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus for a study titled Physiological Wellness Effects of Animal-Assisted Activities in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in a Specialized Psychiatric Hospital Program. This study will examine the influence of animal-assisted activities on the mental health and wellness of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It is hypothesized that children will demonstrate lower physiological arousal when in the presence of dogs. “Anecdotal reports of animal-assisted activities have observed such benefits as decreased anxiety-related behaviors as well as increases in social interactions, language, and safety awareness [in children with ASD],” said Dr. Robin Gabriels, PsyD, Principal Investigator and Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. “But we are in need of more research on how canines specifically, can be helpful to this population. It is our hope that our pilot project will provide preliminary evidence to validate the observed benefits and increase understanding of the mechanisms underlying this positive effect.” The two-year crossover study will examine participants during a standard 20-minute social skills group, with 10 minutes of free interaction in the presence of a dog and 10 minutes in the presence of engaging toys. Using specialized wristbands to measure physiological arousal, researchers will compare the levels conducted within the two sessions. “With high-quality scientific research, HABRI can make animal-assisted therapy a valuable addition to the treatments available for people with autism spectrum disorder,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “There is a growing body of scientific evidence that companion animals are important to human health. This research will ultimately help...

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!