Survey reveals that doctors prescribe pets for what ails you

Seventy-four percent of doctors who took the survey said they would prescribe a pet to improve the overall health of their patients.

Good news for pet parents. That dog or cat you are living with can help heal you. To many of us, that’s no surprise. However, the results from a new study from the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation, are surprising.

Out of 74 percent of doctors who took the survey said they would prescribe a pet to improve the overall health of their patients, and eight percent said they would prescribe a pet for a specific condition.

“Doctors and their patients really understand the human health benefits of pets, and they are putting that understanding into practice” HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman says. “The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative 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. According to Feldman, “This is the largest survey of its kind to explore doctors’ knowledge, attitudes and behavior regarding the human health benefits of pets.”

The survey conducted this past August, had 28 questions. The doctors who took the survey had a median of 18 years of practice experience.

Other key findings show:

  • 69 percent of doctors surveyed said they have successfully worked with animals in a hospital, medical center, or medical practice to assist patient therapy or treatment.
  • 97 percent of doctors surveyed said they believe there are health benefits to living with pets.
  • Most doctors in the survey said they have seen their patient’s health improve as a result of being a pet parent.

“The science shows that pets can help with a wide range of health conditions–from heart health to depression to PTSD,” Feldman adds. “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.”

Sources: HABRI