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Human-Animal Bond


Since the 1980s, a host of studies have established the importance of the bond between people and their animal companions. Here are some of the results:

  • Dog guardians are more likely to survive after a heart attack. More recent, larger-scale studies have confirmed the association between animal guardianship and better health.

  • A 1990 study found that Medicare participants with animal companions made fewer doctors' visits.
  • 100% of animal guardians polled said they turn to their pets for emotional support, sometimes instead of friends, and 84% think animals react to their guardians’ emotions.

  • At the University of Pennsylvania, social work services have been available to bereaved pet guardians since 1978.

  • According to a WALTHAM survey, 78% of animal guardians think of their animals as their children, and 84% display photos of them, mostly in their homes.

  • Animals seem to hold a special place in our hearts even for non-animal households. 67% of survey respondents, including those who have no animal companions, have helped a lost animal or donated to an animal welfare organization.

  • An estimated 1 million dogs in the United States have been named the primary beneficiary in their guardian's will.

  • Most animal guardians (94%) say their animal companion makes them smile more than once a day.

  • 70% of people sign their animal companion's name on greeting cards and 58 percent include them in family and holiday portraits, according to a survey done by the American Animal Hospital Association.

  • 52% of people agreed with the statement, “People often react more strongly to stories regarding animals in need than to similar stories about humans.”

  • There are over 100 million dogs and cats in homes across America. As many as 80% of these households describe their animal companions as family members.

  • 100% of animal guardians talk to their pets.

  • 97% of animal guardians think pets understand what they are saying.

  • 78% of animal guardians speak for their pets, imagining what they might say.

  • 28% of animal guardians think about their pets 5-10 times a day.

  • 53% of animal guardians have taken off work at least once to tend to a sick animal companion.