The important role of pets as valued contributors to public health is being documented through this economic report. This data suggests that there should be stronger societal support for keeping pets and people healthy together.
May 23, 2023
A recently released economic report shows that pet ownership saves $22.7 billion in health care costs in the U.S. every year. The report, commissioned by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), examined the health care cost savings associated with pet ownership in the United States.
The report, which was possible via a grant from Banfield Pet Hospital, was co-written by Terry L. Clower, PhD, and Tonya E. Thornton, PhD, MPPA, who both have extensive experience in economic and public policy research. Their analysis identifies savings from better overall health for pet owners, in the form of fewer doctor visits per year. The report also tracks specific savings for vital public health issues that affect many Americans, including reduced infections, reduced obesity, and better mental health for seniors, children, and veterans.
“The health care savings associated with pet ownership are likely higher than this estimate and are not yet adequately quantified,” said Dr. Clower. “Currently, there is not enough data available to ascertain the direct health care cost savings for many of the known beneficial health effects of pet ownership. We believe that future analyses would reveal even more economic benefits.”
“The important role of pets as valued contributors to public health is being documented through this economic report,” said Steven Feldman, president of HABRI. “This data suggests that there should be stronger societal support for keeping pets and people healthy together.”
The complete report, The Health Care Cost Savings of Pet Ownership, is available for download at https://habri.org/health-care-cost-savings/.
The report authors carried out an analysis of health care cost savings linked to pet ownership by looking at the scientifically documented health benefits of pet ownership, identifying the populations that receive these benefits, and quantifying the avoided health care expenses for those populations. The authors initially performed a review of relevant, peer-reviewed academic and professional literature concerning the health benefits of pet ownership. The most recent cost estimates for health services and treatments related to the health conditions identified in the literature review were identified based on an examination of publicly available health care cost data. Pet ownership data were also obtained from publicly available sources. These inputs were used to calculate the estimated savings for the U.S. healthcare system associated with pet ownership. The report also contains a discussion of identified health benefits associated with pet ownership for which cost savings calculations could not be made.
HABRI is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information. HABRI funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals and informs society about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals. To learn more about HABRI, please visit http://www.habri.org.
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