The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial relationship between people and the animals we share our lives with; a truly dynamic partnership. This relationship is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both, including but unconstrained by emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of humans, animals, and the environment.
There is no denying the abundance of evidence and human-animal interaction science proves what many of us already know – pets are good for us.
This growing body of scientific evidence demonstrates the specific health benefits of how the human-animal bond can be used by everyone in order to make informed decisions that improve the health and well being of not only people, but our pets and the communities they live in.
The more people learn about the science of the human-animal bond, the more likely they are to take better care of their pets. That is not only what Soul Dog Synergy believes, but HABRI (the Human Animal Bond Research Institute) as well.
In 2016, HABRI partnered with Cohen Research Group to conduct the first survey of its kind to explore how pet owners’ knowledge of the health benefits of the human-animal bond impacts pet care and welfare,. They surveyed 2,000 pet owners online with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2%.
The survey indicated a strong awareness of the health benefits of the human-animal bond among pet owners, and, I’m absolutely ecstatic, that the more pet owners learn about the science behind the bond, the more likely they are to take actionable steps to take better care of their pets, including regular visits to the veterinarian.
There is strong awareness of the health benefits of pet ownership.
71% of pet owners have heard about scientific research on the human-animal bond that demonstrates pet ownership can help improve physical or mental health in people
88% of pet owners were aware that pets reduce stress
86% of pet owners were aware that pets reduce depression
84% of pet owners were aware that pets reduce anxiety
81% of pet owners were aware that pets increase our sense of well-being
80% of pet owners were aware that pets help with conditions like PTSD in war veterans
68% of pet owners were aware that pets support healthy aging
65% of pet owners were aware that pets help with conditions like autism
60% of pet owners were aware that pets improve heart health
56% of pet owners were aware that pets help with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease
47% of pet owners were aware that pets support child cognitive development and reading skills
45% of pet owners were aware that pets support classroom learning
32% of pet owners were aware that pets help prevent child allergies
The more pet owners learn about scientific research on the benefits of the human-animal bond, the more likely they are to take actions to improve pet health.
I can’t say enough how much I love this one. Ever feel like you’ve, “found your people?”. If you’re reading this, you’re my people.
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
88% of pet owners are more likely to provide their pets with high-quality nutrition
62% of pet owners are less likely to skip visits to the veterinarian
51% of pet owners (78% of millennials) are more likely to purchase pet health insurance
But wait, it gets better! This will really make your bum hum (as my dance teacher would say).
Knowledge of the scientific research on the benefits of the human-animal bond improves animal welfare.
When educated on the scientific research on the health benefits of pets:
89% of pet owners are more likely to take better care of their pets
75% of pet owners are more likely to microchip a pet to ensure it can be found if lost or stolen
74% of pet owners are less likely to give up a pet for any reason
57% of pet owners that currently reported having multiple pets are more likely to get yet another pet
Veterinarians are trusted resources for scientific information on the human health benefits of pets and have an opportunity to further strengthen their relationships with pet owners, especially millennials
Virtually all pet owners (97%) have a favorable opinion of their veterinarian
66% of pet owners (77% of millennials) would have a more favorable view of their veterinarian if they discussed the health benefits of the human-animal bond with them
61% of pet owners (74% of millennials) would be more likely to visit their veterinarian if they discussed the health benefits of the human-animal bond wih them
25% of millennials always talk to their veterinarians about the health benefits of pet ownership, more than generation X (16%), baby boomers
(6%), or greatest/silent generation (4%)
Doctors can also benefit from increased communication on the human animal bond.
88% of pet owners agree doctors and specialists should recommend pets to patients for healthier living
65% of pet owners would have a more favorable view of a doctor who discussed the health benefits of the human-animal bond with them
59% of pet owners would be more likely to visit a doctor who discussed the health benefits of the human-animal bond with them
Pet owners believe society should be more pet friendly and should act on the scientific research that shows pets improve human health.
93% of pet owners agree the government should provide service animals to veterans with PTSD
69% of pet owners (83% of millennials) agree the government should help make it more affordable to own a pet
84% agree health and life insurance companies should give discounts for owning a pet
87% would be more likely to buy products from pet-friendly businesses
58% of pet owners (74% of millennials) agree employers should consider allowing employees to bring pets to work
Pets are family
98% of pet owners agree that their pet is an important part of their family
95% of pet owners could not imagine giving up their pet for any reason
For more information, please visit Habri
Want to stay up to date in the human-animal bond research? HABRI Central is the most comprehensive online database for human-animal bond research, with more than 29,000 entries including full-texts of peer-reviewed journal articles, books, white papers, videos, datasets and more. These resources include veterinary medicine, nursing, psychology, sociology, law, academia, policymakers, and philosophy. The center houses and hosts user groups, blogs, expert video segments, newsletters, and more. Scholars from all disciplines are able to connect and share knowledge with others involved in the study of the human-animal bond.
Pets change people, while this is something we all understand on an emotional level and a growing body of research agrees, please don’t forget that animals share with us a special privilege. Our connection helps us to become better people. While pets deliver endless happiness and unconditional love, they also come with a set of obligations. Responsible pet ownership recognizes the commitment and investment of both time and money for the lifetime of the animal to ensure they are provided with the necessities of life for a loving and enriching existence.
Danielle & Sheepdog Riggs
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