DENVER, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ — Don’t be surprised if you hear “spend sometime with your pet and call me in the morning,” at your next doctor’s visit. According to a recent national survey, 92 percent of pet owners indicated that pets have joined diet and exercise as a prescription for better health. Pet owners attribute reduced stress levels, improved mental health and physical fitness, and lower blood pressure to spending time with their four-legged companions.
A 2002 American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) survey of 1,242 pet owners in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada revealed that in addition to personal health benefits, 97 percent of pet owners say that their pets make them smile at least once a day.
Pet owners also report that their companion pets accompany them almost everywhere, including work, vacations and shopping errands. Of the survey respondents:
— 76 percent believe their pet eases their stress level.
— 65 percent believe their pet improves their mental health.
— 86 percent include their pet in holiday celebrations such as Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween.
— 64 percent hang a Christmas stocking for their pet.
— 85 percent believe their pet shows concern when they are sick.
— 96 percent believe that pet owners should be held legally responsible for their pet’s actions.
— In a life-threatening situation, 73 percent would spend $1,000 or more to save their pet’s life.
— 48 percent have taken up to two days off work to be with a sick pet.
— 93 percent take their pet to a veterinarian for regular checkups and vaccinations.
— 43 percent have taken their dog to work.
— 73 percent have signed a greeting card “from the dog.”
— Almost half have more pictures of their pets than of their spouse or significant other.
“Pets are becoming more than just a member of the family,” says Dr. Link Welborn, AAHA president-elect. “They are central to a healthy lifestyle and as a result, pet owners are going to greater lengths to keep their pets happy and healthy.”
The survey was conducted by AAHA through its membership from across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Respondents were pet owners who take their pets to AAHA veterinarians. Pet owners from 41 states, Puerto Rico andfour Canadian provinces responded.
The American Animal Hospital Association is an international organization of more than 27,000 veterinary care providers who treat companion animals.Established in 1933, AAHA reminds pet owners that they can help their petslive healthier and longer lives by taking them to the veterinarian forperiodic physical exams, vaccinations and dental care, as well as providingtheir pets with fresh water, a balanced diet and exercise. For pet care information or a referral to an AAHA hospital, pet owners can visit the AAHA website at http://www.healthypet.com or call 800/883-6301.