According to a study by the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI), there has been an $11.7 billion savings in U.S. healthcare costs as a result of pet ownership.
“There was abundant research to show that pets have a positive effect on our health, but this is the first time that anyone has looked at the impact on the U.S. healthcare system,” said study co-author Terry L. Clower, PhD Northern Virginia chair and professor of Public Policy at George Mason University’s School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs and Director of its Center on Regional Analysis. “Our analysis shows that pet ownership produces meaningful savings for total health care costs in the United States.”
The largest savings was determined based on a lower incidence of physician office visits by pet owners as compared to non-owners. According to the study, 132.8 million pet owners in the United States visit a doctor 0.6 times less than the average non-pet owners, and the average cost of a physician office visit is $139.
“Thinking about things that people should do to maintain their health, ‘get a pet’ belongs on that list,” said HABRI Executive Director, Steven Feldman. “When health insurance companies are looking at wellness incentives to keep costs down, pet ownership provides another way for people to stay healthy and save money.”