Washington, D.C. (October 19, 2020) — The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today a grant to the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging for a new study, Uncovering Pet Ownership Benefits, Challenges, and Resources in an Aging Society: Promoting Healthy Aging in Healthcare and Community Environments. This study aims to identity pet ownership issues raised in healthcare and social service settings by older adults and their caregivers.
“Addressing the topic of pet ownership can promote honest and productive communication, uncovering risks and benefits to patients’ health,” said the study’s Principal Investigator, Jessica Bibbo, PhD, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging. “We expect the results of this systematic investigation will elevate pet ownership issues from anecdotal professional experiences to recognized factors that shape the values and preferences of older adults, people living with dementia, and caregivers.”
This study will survey a large interdisciplinary sample of professionals working with older adults, people living with dementia and caregivers about pet ownership. The researchers aim to complete three objectives as part of this comprehensive study:
- The first will be to identify the prevalence of pet ownership issues encountered among an extensive inter-professional sample of health care and social service organization professionals working directly with older adults and their caregivers.
- The second will be to identify specific benefits, challenges and resources provided by pet ownership and the human-animal bond encountered by professionals working with older adults and their caregivers.
- Finally, researchers will apply these results to create and disseminate information to health care and social service professionals on the benefits, challenges, and resources provided by pet ownership and the human-animal bond to promote the healthy aging of older adults and their caregivers.
“The desire to experience the human-animal bond does not end with a diagnosis of dementia,” said Dr. Bibbo. “Yet, the topic of pet ownership is largely overlooked in the training of those working with people living with and managing dementia. The unique capacity for the human-animal bond to facilitate healthy aging in this population amplifies the need to educate the geriatric workforce on all the aspects relevant to pet ownership.
“We know from research that pets can play a vital role in supporting the health and wellbeing of older adults and HABRI’s goal is to help more people keep pets and have access to the human-animal bond as they age,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “HABRI is proud to support this study, which will inform those in healthcare and social services who take great care of the aging population on how best to facilitate healthy aging through the promotion of the human-animal bond.”
About Benjamin Rose
Founded in 1908, Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging (www.benrose.org) is a nationally recognized Cleveland-based nonprofit whose mission is to advance support for older adults and caregivers. This work is accomplished by deepening the understanding of their evolving needs in a changing society; promoting effective public policies; and developing and delivering innovative, high-quality solutions, including evidence-based programs that are tested and proven by research to achieve beneficial outcomes for consumers.
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, please visit www.habri.org.
More Press Releases
Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and LifeLearn Animal Health Team up to Create Shareable Content for Veterinarians: The Human-Animal Bond Kit
In recognition of Pet Appreciation Week, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), in partnership with LifeLearn Animal Health, have created a new, shareable human-animal bond kit, highlighting the health benefits of a healthy relationship with a pet. The scientific research that supports the human-animal bond – or the mutually beneficial relationship between people and pets – for better health indicates that pets can make a difference in promoting physical activity, facilitating social connectedness, healthy aging and more. According to HABRI’s survey of pet ownersi, knowledge of the human-animal bond improves pet care and welfare. When educated on the scientific research on the health benefits of pets: 92% of pet owners are more likely to maintain their pet’s health, including keeping up with vaccines and preventative medicine 89% of pet owners are more likely to take their pet to the vet for regular check-ups HABRI and LifeLearn are proud to work together in creating shareable content for veterinarians and animal health professionals. The more we can remind people that in good times and bad, our companion animals are wonderful sources of support, comfort and joy, the healthier and happier we will be, together.
HABRI Salutes Passage of the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) for Veterans Therapy Act
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) lauded the passage of H.R. 1448, the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers (PAWS) for Veterans Therapy Act, which was signed into law by President Biden yesterday. The PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement a five-year pilot program to provide canine training to eligible veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as an element of a complementary and integrative health program and authorizes the VA to provide service dogs to veterans with mental illnesses. “HABRI is proud to have funded key scientific research demonstrating the efficacy of service dogs as a complimentary therapy for veterans with PTSD,” said Steven Feldman, President of HABRI. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has documented that PTSD affects more than 15 percent of post 9-11 war veteransi. With an alarming 17 suicides per dayii, addressing the mental health of veterans is an urgent crisis. With the support of the pet care community, HABRI funded the first pilot study investigating the efficacy of service dogs as a complementary, therapeutic intervention for veterans with PTSD. Results of this study, conducted by Dr. Maggie O’Haire and team at Purdue University, indicate that veterans with a service dog exhibited significantly lower overall PTSD symptom severity, including increased overall psychological well-being; a better ability to cope with flashbacks and anxiety attacks; a lower frequency of nightmares and less overall sleep disturbance; lower overall anxiety, depression, and anger; higher levels of companionship and social reintegration; and lower levels of social isolationiii. Participants of this first-of-its-kind study were recruited from a database of individuals provided by K9s for Warriors. “The results of our research consistently showed that on average, veterans with service dogs had lower PTSD symptom severity,” said Maggie O’Haire, PhD, Associate Professor...
New Research Looks at Impact of Service Dogs on Medication Regimens for Veterans with PTSD
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today the online publication of a study titled, “The Effect of a PTSD Service Dog on Military Veterans’ Medication Regimens: A Cross-Sectional Pilot Study”, in the journal Anthrozoos. Findings of the study, conducted by researchers at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Purdue University College of Pharmacy, found no significant differences between post-9/11 U.S. veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who were provided with a psychiatric service dog and veterans on a waitlist to receive a service dog in terms of number and type of medications reported. However, veterans with a service dog were more likely to report that their doctor had decreased dosage or removed medications, as compared to veterans on the waitlist to acquire a service dog. “Our previous research has found that PTSD service dogs can improve specific areas of functioning and symptomology for military veterans. This new research builds on these findings by exploring how PTSD service dogs impact veterans’ medication use,” said study co-author Dr. Kerri Rodriguez, Postdoctoral Researcher at Colorado State University. “These results indicate that PTSD service dogs played a positive supporting role. Veterans kept up with their medication regimens, indicating that the presence of the service dog was not associated with any lapse in standard treatment. While having a PTSD service dog may not completely alleviate veterans’ needs for sleep, pain, or anxiety medications, there were reported decreases in dosage levels, shedding additional light on the potential value of these service dogs as a complimentary intervention.” The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of PTSD service dogs on medication use among a population of military veterans with PTSD. Fifty-two veterans living with a PTSD service dog and 44 veterans on a waitlist to receive a service dog were recruited from a database...