HABRI Survey of Doctors confirms what research is showing about the Health Benefits of Pets. Results showed 75% of doctors said patients’ health improved as the result of getting a pet.
“Doctors and their patients really understand the human health benefits of pets, and they are putting that understanding into practice,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) funds research on the evidence-based health benefits on human-animal interaction, and this survey demonstrates that we are on the right track.”
HABRI partnered with Cohen Research Group to conduct an online panel survey of 1,000 family doctors and general practitioners. This is the largest survey of its kind to explore doctors’ knowledge, attitudes and behavior regarding the human health benefits of pets.
Survey’s key findings:
Most doctors have successfully worked with animals in medicine.
- 69% have worked with them in a hospital, medical center, or medical practice to assist patient therapy or treatment. They report interactions with animals improve patients’ physical condition (88%), mental health condition (97%), mood our outlook (98%), and relationships with staff (76%).
Doctors overwhelmingly believe there are health benefits to owning pets.
- 97% reported that they believe there were health benefits that resulted from owning a pet.
The majority of doctors have recommended a pet to a patient.
- 60% of doctors interviewed have recommended getting a pet to a patient. 43% recommended the pet to improve overall health and 17% made the recommendation for a specific condition.
Most doctors have seen their patients’ health improve as a result of pet ownership.
- 75% of physicians said they saw one or more of their patients overall health improve, and 87% said their patients’ mood or outlook improved.
Doctors are willing to prescribe pets.
- 74% of doctors said they would prescribe a pet to improve overall health if the medical evidence supported it; 8% said they would prescribe a pet for a specific condition.
“The science shows that pets can help with a wide range of health conditions - from heart health to depression to PTSD,” Feldman added. “HABRI hopes that this survey will help break down the barriers and get more doctors and their patients talking about the important, scientifically-validated health benefits of pets.”