Don’t you just love surveys? Hot off the press from the USA comes this one which polled 1,000 physicians and found a whopping 97% of doctors “believe that pets provide health benefits to their human owners.”
Really? The medical fraternity’s finally caught on to what those of us in the Veterinary profession have known instinctively and experienced personally for eons…pets are good for us! (It’s ok if there’s a small smile creeping across your face at the moment).
The survey, conducted by HABRI and Cohen Research Group, is the largest study of its kind to examine doctors' knowledge, attitudes and behaviour regarding the human health benefits of pets.
It was commissioned by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute in Washington DC which is delighted with the results, its Executive Director Steven Feldman announcing the survey’s other major finding… that nearly three-quarters(74 percent) of the medicos said they would actually prescribe a pet, if medical evidence supported it.
And there’s the rub. Scientists didn't start seriously studying the effects of animals on human health until 1987 so while there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence, it seems Human GP’s won’t be whipping out their prescription pads and writing ‘Take one pet, caress daily x lifetime’ just yet. But it might not be too far away, given there’s been a distinct change in attitude.
The survey revealed that 69% of doctors have worked with animals in a hospital or other medical setting, especially paediatric hospitals and senior living centres and nursing homes.
The Institute’s hopeful this latest data indicates that as further scientific evidence of the benefits of pets emerges, doctors will be more willing than their predecessors to encourage their human patients to get a pet.
That’s got to be good for the human race…and for pets!
(Note: I wouldn’t hold your breath for pets to appear on the public benefits health scheme any time this decade.)