Washington, D.C. (November 23, 2020) — In recognition of how pets are helping us during the pandemic and just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) has created a new shareable infographic, “5 Ways the Human-Animal Bond is Improving Lives During the Pandemic”. The infographic highlights research showing the positive role of pets in providing companionship and relief from stress, anxiety and loneliness.
“This is the time of year when many of us reflect on all of the things for which we are thankful. For pet owners, the human-animal bond is high on that list,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman, “HABRI’s goal is to raise awareness of the important role of human-animal bond, especially during difficult times.”
This infographic is part of an ongoing series to share human-animal bond research. In October, HABRI released the “Top 5 Health Benefits of Cat Ownership” infographic. In June, HABRI shared “Can Pets Help You Live Longer?“.
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 https://habri.org/.
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New Research to Explore the Health Benefits of Cat Fostering for Older Adults
Funded by a two-year grant from the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), faculty from the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Family and Consumer Science and the Obesity Initiative are collaborating on a new research project to examine the impact of pet companionship on mental and emotional health in older adults living alone. “Housing and health are essential to overall well-being, a fact known to pertain to both humans and animals”, said Heidi Ewen, assistant professor, Colleges of Public Health and Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia. “We have proposed a unique solution to help older adults living alone at home establish new social bonds, by pairing them with homeless foster cats.” Partnering with the Athens Area Humane Society and UGA’s Campus Cats organization, a rescue group that works with homeless cats on campus, the team will match foster parents and felines. The team is led by Heidi Ewen and Sherry Sanderson, a veterinarian and associate professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Beginning in October, the team will begin to identify older adults in the Athens Area that are willing to foster cats. The 34 pairs of cats and seniors will then be interviewed and assessed throughout the study to determine whether having a pet in the house leads to changes in their emotional well-being. Assessments include, loneliness, emotional well-being, and purpose of life scales as well as measures of attachment to, and comfort from, the foster cat. Findings are expected to demonstrate improvements in mental and behavioral health in foster parents including reduction in loneliness and depression, and that attachment to the companion animal will increase the duration of fostering or lead to adoption of the foster cat. “As efforts around the country have increased to reduce euthanasia rates of homeless pets, there is an increasing reliance upon foster homes to bridge the time between...
Treat Planet Supports Human-Animal Bond Research
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced today that Treat Planet, makers of natural, eco-friendly pet products, has become an official supporter of HABRI and its research on the human health benefits of companion animals. “As makers of the best darn treats on the planet, Treat Planet provides man’s best friend with the best quality nutrition to keep them healthy and happy,” said Doug Martin, President of Treat Planet. “HABRI’s research shows that by maintaining a pet’s health, pet owners can improve their own health and well-being. Through supporting HABRI, Treat Planet is now advancing the human-animal bond through scientific research and quality nutrition, and we couldn’t be more proud.” “Recent HABRI research found that when educated about the health benefits of the human-animal bond, pet owners are more likely to provide their pets with higher quality nutrition, including treats,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. “Not only is Treat Planet furthering its own mission through joining other leading companies and organizations from the pet care community that support HABRI, but it’s also contributing to a broader purpose of ensuring that more people can improve their health and quality of life through pet ownership.” Scientific evidence increasingly shows that pets improve heart health; alleviate depression; increase well-being; support child health and development; and contribute to healthy aging. In addition, companion animals can assist in the treatment of a broad range of conditions from post-traumatic stress to Alzheimer’s disease to autism spectrum disorder. The benefits of the human-animal bond impact more than just human health. Findings from a recent HABRI survey of 2,000 pet owners demonstrate that knowledge of the scientific research on the human-animal bond motivates pet owners to take better care of their pets. From providing pets with higher quality nutrition to more frequent visits to the...
Veterans Day Virtual Lecture: Efficacy of Service Dogs for Veterans Living with Post-traumatic Stress
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and IDEXX held a virtual lecture on the health benefits of psychiatric service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is the first lecture of the IDEXX Human-Animal Bond Lecture Series, which highlights impactful scientific research on the health benefits of the human-animal bond and the importance of veterinary medicine in strengthening human-animal bonds. The Veterans Day lecture, titled The Efficacy of Service Dogs for Veterans with PTSD, featured a conversation with Marguerite E. O’Haire, PhD, Associate Professor of Human-Animal Interaction, Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University. Dr. O’Haire discussed findings and implications of her groundbreaking HABRI-funded study, Preliminary efficacy of service dogs as a complementary, therapeutic treatment for post-traumatic stress in military members, veterans and their families. “IDEXX is proud to sponsor this lecture series which will serve as a valuable educational resource for both the general public and for the veterinary community about the science of the human-animal bond,” said Kerry Bennett, Corporate Vice President, IDEXX. “We know pet owners rely on their veterinarians to deliver scientific information about the health benefits of their pets, and when veterinarians and animal health professionals effectively communicate the science of the human-animal bond, they can strengthen bonds by encouraging compliance and improving animal care and welfare.” Published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology in 2018, Dr. O’Haire’s proof-of-concept study assessed the efficacy of service dogs as a complementary treatment for military members and veterans living with PTSD. Results indicate that those 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...