A new economic report commissioned by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) examined the health care cost savings associated with pet ownership in the United States. Overall, the report found that pet ownership could save the United States health care system $22.7 billion annually.
The report, made possible by a grant from Banfield Pet Hospital, was co-authored by Terry L. Clower, PhD and Tonya E. Thornton, PhD, MPPA, both of whom have extensive expertise in economic and public policy research, according to a release from HABRI.1 The conclusion that pet ownership can save humans money on their own health care comes from a connection of pet owners having better overall health in the form of fewer doctor visits per year and also specific savings for key public health issues affecting millions of Americans, including reduced obesity, reduced infections, and better mental health for children, seniors, and US veterans.
“The results of this analysis are conservative and likely underestimate the positive health care savings connected to pet ownership,” said Clower in the release. “Presently, there is not yet sufficient data available to calculate the direct heath care cost savings for some of the known beneficial health effects of pet ownership and we believe that future analyses will show even greater economic benefits.”
“By commissioning this economic report, we are documenting the important role of pets as valued contributors to public health,” said Steven Feldman, president of HABRI, in the release. “This data suggests that there should be stronger societal support for keeping pets and people healthy together.”1
To conduct their research the authors first reviewed relevant, peer-reviewed academic and professional literature regarding the health benefits of pet ownership. Then, they looked at the most recent cost estimates for health services and treatments related to the health conditions identified in the literature review based on an examination of publicly available health care cost data. Pet ownership data was also identified from publicly available sources. The estimated savings to the U.S. healthcare system associated with pet ownership were calculated using these inputs.
New report shows major economic benefits associated with pet ownership. News release. Human Animal Bond Research Institute. Published May 23, 2023. Accessed June 8, 2023. https://habri.org/pressroom/20230523