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
Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Awards Grant for New Study to Examine Therapy Dog Impact on Pediatric Echocardiograms

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a $44,000 grant to Duke University School of Medicine’s Division of Pediatric Cardiology for a new research study titled Impact of Animal Assisted Therapy on Quality, Completeness, and Patient and Parental Satisfaction in Children Undergoing Clinical Echocardiography. This study will examine the influence of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) on young children undergoing an echocardiogram. It is hypothesized that children will have a more complete and higher quality echocardiogram in the presence of therapy dogs. In addition, parents are expected to report higher visit satisfaction scores and greater exam comfort for their children. “Echocardiography is an effective way to use ultrasound to ‘see’ inside the heart, and while taking the pictures is non-invasive, it can still be a scary procedure for young children,” said the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Piers C.A. Barker, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Duke University School of Medicine. “Typically, we must sedate children who have trouble holding still so that we can get adequate pictures. This study aims to evaluate whether animal-assisted therapy could serve as an effective alternative technique to comfort the children and put them at ease, potentially resulting in more complete echocardiograms, higher quality images, and avoidance of sedation drugs.” “We know from previous scientific research that animal-assisted therapy is effective in alleviating anxiety in hospital patients,” said co-investigator, Margaret Gruen, DVM, PhD, DACVB of Duke. “This is one of the first studies to focus on the potential of animal-assisted therapy to impact a clinical outcome. If results are successful, this study could potentially add non-pharmacologic, low-cost options to improve diagnostic quality for children having medical imaging procedures and could encourage broader use of therapy dogs in other pediatric cardiology settings.” The...

Press Releases
New Scientific Results: Asking Patients About Pets Enhances Patient Communication and Care

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), The University of Toronto, Markham Stouffville Hospital, and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan announced the publication of a study exploring whether Primary Healthcare Professionals asking their patients about the pets in the family would positively impact communication to gather clinically relevant information and improve patient care. “Results of our survey show that asking about pets in the family is an easy and effective way to build trust with a patient, strengthening the patient-provider therapeutic alliance,” said Kate Hodgson, DVM, MHSc, CCMEP, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. “When healthcare providers learn about the pets in patients’ lives, they are also developing an understanding about specific aspects of their patients’ environment and social history that can improve the delivery of healthcare.” “Having an exam-room conversation about companion animals helps healthcare providers learn important information about patients’ lifestyle and home life which can positively influence the way they evaluate and treat their patients,” said Alan Monavvari, MD, Chief of Family Medicine, MHSc, CCFP, CHE, CPHQ, at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Dr. Hodgson and Dr. Monavvari, along with co-authors Marcia Darling, BSc and Dr. Douglas Freeman, DVM, PhD, DipACT, analyzed results of a baseline and follow-up survey of 225 healthcare professionals asking about prevalence of patients living with pets, the health impact of pets, and influences on patient communication. Results revealed that patients are more open to talking to their healthcare providers about their pets, revealing clinically relevant information about how they live. Baseline and final surveys measured awareness of pets in patients’ families, assessment of determinants of health, impact on rapport with patients, and patient care. A sign test assessed difference in scores using repeated-measures...

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