whiskerDocs Supports Human-Animal Bond Research | HABRI

whiskerDocs Supports Human-Animal Bond Research

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.

 

Contact

Liz Thomas

liz@theimpetusagency.com

775.322.4022

###

Press Releases
New Research Results Indicate Adopted Shelter Cats May Acclimate Well into Families of Children with Autism without Experiencing Significant Stress

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and EveryCat Health Foundation today announced the results of a new study published in the open-access Journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, “Exploratory Study of Fecal Cortisol, Weight, and Behavior as Measures of Stress and Welfare in Shelter Cats During Assimilation Into Families of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder”, providing preliminary evidence that temperament screened shelter cats adopted by families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) did not experience a significant increase in stress after adoption by their new families. “Benefits of companion animals in homes of families of children with autism have been identified, but little is known about the welfare of pets in these homes,” said Dr. Gretchen Carlisle, Research Scientist at the University of Missouri and Principal Investigator. “These results provide a starting point for future research exploring cat welfare, while also identifying a set of steps families can take to effectively mitigate stress in their new feline family members.” “HABRI is particularly proud to have supported the Feline Friends study, which has already demonstrated that temperament screened shelter cats can help families of children with ASD,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. “Results from this new publication focused on cat welfare are important to ensuring successful, long-lasting human-animal bonds.” “We know how meaningful companion animals are to those with ASD and are honored to have supported this groundbreaking research showing that cats can safely and healthily fill this role is truly a win for the cats and their people,” expressed Jackie Ott Jaakola, Executive Director of EveryCat Health Foundation. This exploratory study measured stress in temperament screened shelter cats adopted by families of children with ASD by using fecal cortisol, weight and a behavior stress measure. Findings suggest that the cats in the study acclimated...

Press Releases
Email Reminder + Dog = Increased Physical Activity

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced the results of a study exploring the effects of an email mediated intervention to increase walking in dog owners and non-dog owners, conducted by researchers at Purdue University and published in the journal Clinical Nursing Research. Findings of the study showed that a simple email intervention sharing the importance of walking and the positive impact of walking on a dog’s health were effective tools to promote walking. These interventions caused participants to increase and maintain dog walking over a 12-month period. Email intervention for non-dog owners also increased weekly minutes of walking compared with baseline measures and control groups, however dog owners accumulated significantly more walking minutes per week than non-dog owners. “Walking is an easy, accessible way to increase physical activity, which is important for the health of people and their pets,” said the principal investigator on the study, Elizabeth A. Richards, PhD, RN, CHES, of Purdue University. “Because an email reminder is so simple, these findings should be easy to replicate, encouraging dog owners and non-dog owners alike to lead more physically active lifestyles.” Participants assigned to the intervention group received a twice-weekly email message for the first four weeks of the intervention followed by weekly email messages for the next eight weeks. The emails attempted to influence confidence through a variety of mechanisms which the investigators hypothesized would directly influence dog walking for dog owners and walking for non-dog owners. Previous studies have supported that dog owners who walk their dogs are motivated to do so because of dog-related support for walking. A number of dog-owner participants in this study anecdotally reported that their ability to maintain behavior change in physical activity was in part due to the dog expecting a walk and conditioning the owner to comply. “With...

Press Releases
New Research to Investigate the Effect of Shelter Cat Adoption on Stress and Anxiety in Children with Autism

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a $52,204 grant to the University of Missouri for a new study, Shelter Cat Adoption in Families of Children with Autism: Impact on Children’s Social Skills and Anxiety as well as Cat Stress. This study will examine the effect of the introduction of a shelter cat on social skills and anxiety in children with autism, and on stress levels for the cats themselves. “Preliminary research demonstrates the effectiveness of companion animal interaction on alleviating social skills deficits and anxiety in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD),” said the study’s Principal Investigator, Gretchen Carlisle, PhD, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri. “While many studies have focused on the impact of dogs on children with ASD, this study aims to determine the beneficial impacts of a pet cat on children with autism and their families, as the temperament and the ease of care for cats compared to other animals may increase the likelihood of a positive outcome for the children, the cats and the family as a whole.” In addition to HABRI’s grant award, the PIs have also received funding from the Winn Feline Foundation in the amount of $25,000. The combined funding from Winn Feline and HABRI have enabled the PIs to expand the sample size and add the support of a statistician, which will greatly enhance the power of the study and hopefully result in more definitive and robust findings. “Winn Feline Foundation is thrilled to have initially supported this important study on the human-cat bond and to hear of HABRI’s grant award. Their additional support will strengthen the study’s findings”, commented Winn’s Executive Director Dr. Vicki Thayer. “This significant project evaluating the effects and benefits of adoption of cats by children and families with ASD fits our mission and values”. Using a two-group, randomized, repeated measures design with a delayed treatment...

HABRI