Scientific research demonstrates that pet owners – who make up 80 million U.S. households or 65% of the American population – are less likely to be obese, more likely to meet physical activity guidelines, have a reduced risk of heart disease, are more likely to be socially connected, and are happier than non-pet owners. A Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) survey of 1,000 family doctors found that they overwhelmingly believe there are health benefits to owning pets. In fact, 60% of doctors surveyed had already recommended getting a pet to a patient. Further, 75% of physicians said they saw their patients’ overall health improve, and 87% said their patients’ mood or outlook improved.
The growing body of research on the positive impact of human-animal interaction covers a wide range of diseases and conditions, for people of all ages and backgrounds. Researchers are learning more and more each day about the benefits of pets, therapy animals and animal-assisted activities, and each year, academic institutions open up new departments focused on this subject. Pet Food Institute is a supporter of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), a non-profit organization that funds, gathers and shares scientific research on the health benefits of human-animal interaction. HABRI 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.
HABRI has identified three main areas of focus of human-animal bond research. A depth of high-quality research exists within each of these categories: