Pet ownership correlates with various positive health outcomes documented on the Human Animal Bond Research Institute Central website. While therapists use pets to address conditions from autism to post-traumatic stress disorder, the health and wellness benefits extend to all pet owners. Sharing information about the positive medical effects of pets on people could have an economic benefit for the pet food industry.
“This is why you should be sharing this information,” Steven Feldman, president of the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), said during his presentation at Global Pet Expo on March 24 in Orlando, Florida, USA. “They're going to buy higher-quality nutrition, more toys, and spend more money overall. If you make this human-animal bond a part of your product premise, and really talk about this, a lot of good things are going to happen.”
HABRI researchers estimated that pet ownership results in US$11.78 billion in health care savings in the United States. In a survey of U.S. pet owners, 48% of pet owners had a pet recommended for its health benefits. Friends and family were the primary sources of these recommendations, followed by doctors and therapists. Survey respondents were most aware of pets’ health benefits related to easing loneliness, reducing stress and depression. Ninety-seven percent of pet owners were aware of at least one benefit.
Higher premium pet food sales relationship to pet-human bond knowledge
Being aware of the health boost pet owners get from their animals may increase pet ownership rates overall. Knowing about research on the human-animal bond resulted in 87% of survey respondents stating they would recommend a pet to a friend or family member. Fifty-seven percent were more likely to get an additional pet because of their awareness of the health benefits of pet ownership.
For pet food and treat companies, knowledge of how pets boost a person’s health and wellness may result in increased sales of premium pet foods. Awareness of the pet-human health boost correlated to 90% of pet owners stating they were more likely to provide their pet with higher-quality nutrition. Likewise, 77% responded that they were more likely to spend more overall if they were familiar with research on how pets help people’s health.