Research to Study Affect of Therapy Dogs on Children in Hospitals

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation recently awarded two grants, totaling $123,000, to study the affects of therapy dogs on children in hospitals.

Young Girl Being Visited In Hospital By Therapy Dog

The University of Tennessee received a $79,000 grant for a new study, The Effect of Animal-Assisted Intervention on Preoperative Anxiety and Dose of Sedation in Children. The study will examine the effect of animal-assisted intervention (AAI) on children’s anxiety levels and sedation medication dosages prior to surgery.

72 children between the ages of 2 and 17 will receive a therapy dog or an iPad tablet 20 minutes before sedation. Heart rate, blood pressure and medicine levels for sedation will then be evaluated for each group and compared.

It is expected that children provided with a therapy dog prior to surgery will have significantly lower preoperative anxiety and will require a decreased amount of medication for sedation compared to children who do not interact with a therapy dog.

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Duke University School of Medicine’s Division of Pediatric Cardiology also received a $44,000 grant for a new research study, Impact of Animal Assisted Therapy on Quality, Completeness, and Patient and Parental Satisfaction in Children Undergoing Clinical Echocardiography. This study will examine the influence of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) on young children undergoing an echocardiogram.

150 children between the ages of 1 and 5 will be randomly assigned to a group: canine-assisted therapy only; canine-assisted therapy plus standard distraction techniques; and standard distraction techniques only. Quality, completeness and parental satisfaction of echocardiograms will be evaluated among the three groups, as well as reduction of stress or fear among the children.

It is expected that children will have a more complete and higher quality echocardiogram in the presence of therapy dogs. In addition, parents are expected to report higher visit satisfaction scores and greater exam comfort for their children.

For more information and to read about the innovative research projects HABRI has funded, visit their website.

New Research Shows Dogs Can Help De-Stress Families With Autistic Children

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation recently released the results of a long-term study that explored the effects of pet dogs on families with children with autism spectrum disorder, and the findings are quite paw-sitive!

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Published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, the study showed significantly improved family functioning in families with a dog compared to those without. The study also found a reduction in parent-child dysfunctional interactions among families that had a dog.

So, what does this mean? In families with autistic children, a dog can aide in creating a less stressful, more calm environment. As HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman explains, “Parents of children with autism can experience increased anxiety and stress, and now we have strong scientific evidence to show that pets can have positive effects on these quality-of-life issues.” He also noted that a pet dog is something to consider as a way to “improve family harmony.”

This study is among the first published studies of more than a dozen HABRI-funded research projects examining the effects of companion animals on human health. For more information and to read about the innovative research projects HABRI has funded, visit their website.

APPA: Supporting the Industry. Leading the Way.

As the pet industry’s leading association, APPA has worked to grow and support the industry in many ways beyond the direct services APPA provides its members and retailers through Global Pet Expo.

Over the past six years we have supported the pet industry with an unprecedented $10,000,000. These contributions have driven and sustained significant programs designed to strengthen our industry, increase pet ownership, and build awareness of the joys and health benefits of pet ownership.

We provide financial assistance to organizations like the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and the Pet Care Trust and have consistently taken a leadership role in pioneering new initiatives. Over the last decade, APPA founded the national Pets Add Life campaign, helped form the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation, and most recently, partnered with industry leaders to establish the Pet Leadership Council, all with the goal of growing and safeguarding our industry.

Our resolve to support and strengthen the pet industry to the best of our ability has never been stronger. We remain committed to leading the way as we work cooperatively with other organizations to plan for the future and ensure the continued health and vitality of the pet products industry. Together we are strong.

Here are some of the organizations APPA supports:

 

Human Animal Bond Research Initiative

In 2010 APPA took the lead in uniting the industry to form a new organization dedicated to gathering, funding and sharing the scientific research that demonstrates the positive health impacts of animals on people. Since its inception, HABRI has served as a rallying point for a growing assembly of companies ranging from manufacturers, distributors and retailers to veterinarians and animal health organizations, all with the common goal of scientifically validating that pets are good for human health. 

In just a few short years, HABRI has quickly become the one-stop resource for scientific research and information on the human-animal bond and has developed the most comprehensive online repository with more than 20,000 entries and growing. The foundation has also awarded a half million in grants for new research showing the health benefits of pets.

Pets Add Life

APPA’s Pets Add Life program was started in 2005 as a public service announcement effort and has since grown into a highly impactful social media campaign garnering hundreds of thousands of followers, millions of impressions, and has become one of the leading voices for promoting pet adoption and responsible pet ownership. Through YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, active and engaged PAL fans and followers are able to help spread our message to millions of their peers.

In an effort to encourage and increase pet ownership, PAL promotes the joys and benefits of pets through a video campaign that includes the wildly successful talking animal videos, which have now reached over 75 million views. Future videos will focus on pet owners’ stories and the amazing impact their pets have made on their lives.

Most recently, PAL has focused its energy on reaching the newest generation of pet owners, Millennials, by expanding into growing platforms popular among this generation like Vine, Instagram and BuzzFeed.

 

Pet Care Trust

APPA has long been a sponsor of the Pet Care Trust whose mission is to promote public understanding of the joys and benefits of pets through education, support, and interaction, primarily through the Pets in the Classroom grant program.

To date, Pets in the Classroom has issued over 56,600 grants to teachers, and nearly 2 million children have experienced the joys and benefits of pet care since the program’s inception.

With a goal of introducing 5 million children in 100,000 classrooms to pets and the benefits they provide, the Pet Care Trust is hoping to help teachers impact future generations of pet owners through its grant program.

Pet Leadership Council

The Pet Leadership Council was formed in 2013 with the mission to: promote and celebrate responsible pet ownership; protect the rights of pet owners; ensure a sustainable supply of pets; foster industry commitment to animal care and breeding standards; and support well founded and meaningful regulatory and legislative initiatives regarding household pets.

As a unifying, proactive voice for the industry, the PLC members represent manufacturers, distributors, retailers, veterinarians and breeders — all of whom passionately and enthusiastically serve the cause of pet ownership and seek to improve the quality of life for pets and owners alike.

By engaging the appropriate resources, the PLC responds to current issues like increasing the incidence of pet ownership and addressing nationwide pet sale bans, while also identifying and addressing future industry needs.

Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council

APPA has long been a supporter of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council to help the organization in its important function of monitoring live animal issues. Understanding the critical nature of legislation affecting pets, APPA also lends support through its Washington D.C. based law firm Dentons US LLP in addition to its government affairs department which monitors product legislation.

WE ARE COMMITTED to continuing to support the organizations and individuals working to protect and grow the industry.

Survey Says! New Study Reveals 97% of Doctors Believe There Are Health Benefits to Owning a Pet

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.

For more information, visit here.