Washington, D.C. (December 6, 2018) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that whiskerDocs, the leading provider of telehealth support for pet parents, has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research on the human health benefits of companion animals.
“By supporting the advancement of human-animal bond research, whiskerDocs is demonstrating its commitment to the human-animal bond and the positive role that healthy pets play in our lives,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “HABRI is proud to have the support of whiskerDocs, which is doing innovative work to support pet owners striving to take great care of their pets.”
Recognizing the role of pets as family members, whiskerDocs was started to help pet parents receive unbiased support from veterinary professionals in making the best decisions on behalf of their pets. The whiskerDocs team is available 24 hours a day and provides on-demand support via tech-enabled channels, including live chat, phone, mobile messaging and more. whiskerDocs’ clients partners include employers, pet insurance companies such as Pets Best and Embrace, and pet services companies such as Rover.com and Pethealth.
“Pet owners want to ensure their whiskered family members are healthy and happy at all times, because the human-animal bond is so important to their own happiness and well-being,” said Deb Leon, CEO of whiskerDocs. “As the role of pets in society continues to evolve and the demands of pet owners continue to rise, whiskerDocs will be there to make certain that each and every pet owner has immediate, trusted access to professional veterinary guidance and help. We look forward to working with HABRI to help more people and pets lead worry-free, healthy lives together.”
Scientific evidence increasingly shows that pets improve heart health; alleviate depression; increase well-being; support child health and educational development; and contribute to healthy aging.
New research also shows that pet-supportive workplaces that include pet-services (like veterinary telehealth and pet insurance) boost employee attraction, engagement and retention. When employers support pet owners, employees are more likely to feel highly connected to their company’s mission, become more fully engaged with their work, and are more willing to recommend their employer to others. Additionally, employees at pet friendly workplaces are 52% more likely to report a positive working relationship with their boss and 53% more likely to report a positive working relationship with their co-workers, compared to just 14% and 19% among those in non-pet friendly environments.
“When employers help employees take care of their pets, it has a huge payoff,” Feldman added. “whiskerDocs, which can be offered as an employee benefit, provides another important way to provide that support.”
whiskerDocs is headquartered in Skokie, IL, and supports over 1 million pet parents throughout North America. Since 2011, whiskerDocs has been providing advice to pet parents for behavior, emergency, wellness care, training, and questions about symptoms. Visit whiskerdocs.com to learn more.
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) is a not-for-profit organization that 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 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, please visit www.habri.org.
More Press Releases
DC Stands for Dogs and Cats!
Members of Congress have been bringing pets to work since the nation’s founding. A new survey confirms that Capitol Hill remains a very pet-friendly workplace today, with a solid majority of House and Senate offices who responded to the survey saying they welcome pets at work on the Hill. The survey included in-person interviews in House and Senate offices during August, 2017, and was sponsored by Nestlé Purina PetCare and conducted on behalf of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), to call attention to the benefits of pet-friendly workplaces. The Hill survey findings paint a picture of a very pet-friendly workplace: More than 80 percent of the 192 House and Senate offices who responded say they welcome pets in the office, either during recess, while Congress is in session, or both. By comparison, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, just 7% of American workplaces allow pets. The pet-friendly Hill office findings were relatively consistent across party lines, geographic regions, and both chambers, suggesting wide bipartisan support for having pets at work. “The bond we share with pets is something we can all agree on,” said Dr. Kurt Venator, DVM, PhD, and Chief Veterinary Officer at Purina. “We’ve been bringing our own dogs and cats with us to work for decades, because we believe life is better with pets. We know that pets help us de-stress, lower blood pressure, get our exercise, and even forge stronger social connections.” Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI, agrees: “Scientific research shows that pets in the workplace can boost productivity, collaboration and employee satisfaction,” said Feldman. “We hope that more companies and workplaces will follow the lead of Congress to begin to think about pets as a way to boost employee health and wellness.” Pets have had a presence in Congress from the beginning. In a recent interview, the Assistant Senate Historian, Dan Holt, said senators used to bring their...
New Research to Study Therapy Dog Visits for Elderly ICU Patients
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced it has awarded a $6,000 grant to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Nursing for a pilot research study, Biobehavioral Effects of Therapy Dog Visitation in Elderly Intensive Care Unit Patients, to investigate how brief visits from therapy dogs can reduce stress in older intensive care unit (ICU) patients. “Elderly patients who are admitted to the intensive care unit are at risk for anxiety that negatively affects physical health,” said primary researcher Sandra Branson, PhD, MSN, RN, Assistant Professor at the UTHealth School of Nursing. “Limited evidence suggests the effectiveness of therapy dog visits in improving these biological responses. We’re hoping this study will help fill the gap and potentially translate into regular practice in ICUs.” Further exploring the effects of therapy dogs on stress in elderly ICU patients, the study aims to provide research-based evidence proving the efficacy of brief, 10-minute therapy dog visits in improving stress associated with being in an ICU. The 18-month study will observe two groups of 10 elderly participants in the ICU; one group will receive a 10-minute therapy dog visits at random and the other will receive usual care without the visits. Patients’ psychosocial, endocrine, and inflammatory responses will be measured immediately before and after the 10-minute care session and compared between the two groups. It is predicted that participants who receive the therapy dog visits will show greater reductions in the measured responses. The results of this study could yield therapy dog visits as a regular, low-risk and low-cost treatment intervention for patients in the ICU. “HABRI’s grant to UTHealth will help advance the science that demonstrates the benefits of companion animals for disease recovery and healthy aging,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “The deployment of therapy...
Therapy Dogs Improve Social Behaviors in Psychiatrically Hospitalized Youth with Autism
March 14, 2019– The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), the Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus today announced the publication of a pilot study exploring the benefits of animal-assisted activities (AAA) for psychiatrically hospitalized youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). “Individuals with autism spectrum disorder have difficulties with communication and socialization skills, and often experience difficulties with emotion dysregulation, which can lead to more intensive intervention services such as psychiatric hospitalization,” said researcher and lead author, Monique Germone, PhD, BCBA, University of Colorado, Children’s Hospital Colorado. “Psychiatric hospital environments can be particularly overwhelming and stressful environments for individuals with ASD, and animal-assisted activity is one of the most widely used complementary forms of treatment in hospital settings. We chose to build on existing science that shows children with ASD demonstrate significantly more positive social-communication behaviors when an animal is present.” Dr. Germone, along with study’s principal investigator Robin Gabriels, PsyD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine recruited participants ages 4-17 years old from the inpatient and partial hospitalization unit of a specialized psychiatric unit for pediatric patients with ASD. A crossover study design, participants attended both the experimental (AAA) and control (novel toy) conditions. Both group sessions occurred in a classroom setting and began with quiet play, followed by social skills group and then participants engaging in either the experimental or control condition. The 10-minute experimental sessions included therapy dog-handler teams. The researchers captured behavioral data via video and used the OHAIRE coding system designed to quantify social communication, and interactions with animals and control objects. Categories...