A pet might be just what the doctor ordered! In a new, first-of-its-kind study conducted by the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) this past August, it was concluded that doctors are increasingly recognizing the benefits of pets to human health and a large percentage of doctors are even willing to prescribe pets to patients.
HABRI partnered with Cohen Research Group to conduct an online panel survey of 1,000 family doctors and general practitioners to explore their knowledge, attitudes and behavior regarding the human health benefits of pets.
Key findings include:
- 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 or 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 survey also revealed that while 69% of doctors at least occasionally discussed the health benefits of pets with patients, 56% identified “time constraints” as the biggest barrier to having these discussions.
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