Sep
12
2016

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation and AAHA recently announced the findings of a new survey on how knowledge of the scientific benefits of the human-animal bond impacts the way pet owners care for their companion animals. The survey asked pet owners about their awareness of research that shows pets improve human health and found this knowledge motivated them to take better care of their pets, including a significant, positive impact on veterinary care.

“When educated about the scientific research on the human-animal bond, pet owners are more likely to take important measures to improve pet health and augment their relationship with their veterinarians,” said AAHA Chief Executive Officer, Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP (C/F). “AAHA-accredited animal hospitals continue to raise the standard for veterinary care across the country, and HABRI gives us another way to connect with pet owners to enhance that care.”

When 2,000 pet owners were educated about the human health benefits of pet ownership:

  • 92% said they were more likely to maintain a pet’s health, including keeping up with vaccines and preventive medicine
  • 89% said they were more likely to maintain a pet’s health, including regular check-ups with a veterinarian
  • 88% said they were more likely to provide a pet with higher-quality nutrition
  • 51% said they were more likely to purchase pet health insurance
  • 62% said they were less likely to skip visits to the veterinarian
  • 89% said they were more likely to take better care of a pet

“When people find out that pets improve heart health, decrease stress, help alleviate depression, and address specific conditions that include autism, PTSD and Alzheimer’s, they become more focused on caring for their pet’s health,” said HABRI Executive Director, Steven Feldman. “More awareness of human-animal bond science improves veterinary care and leads to a healthier pet population.”

Veterinarians, already viewed favorably by 97% of pet owners, are also viewed as important messengers for scientific information on the health benefits of pets, especially by millennial pet owners:

  • 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 with them

“The science of the human-animal bond offers veterinarians a real opportunity to improve their relationships with clients, and to provide the best care for their patients,” Cavanaugh said.

The online survey, conducted by The Cohen Research Group, included 2,000 interviews and had a margin of error of +2.2%.

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