The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation recently awarded a $27,000 grant to researchers at Lincoln Memorial University to explore connections between the health of pets and their owners.
The aim of the project, titled “Measuring the Impact of a Mutually Reinforcing Relationship Between Pet Owners and Their Pets,” is to develop a model of health and wellness behavior to describe the relationship between the health of pets and their owners. The model will be developed from basic health data collected from 300 human subjects and their pet dogs and/or cats at public health fairs in the Cumberland Gap region of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia.
“Few studies have simultaneously investigated the health and health promoting behaviors of owners and pets. We believe the model developed in this study will help provide evidence that the relationship between humans and companion animals mutually reinforces their health and quality of life. This is especially important in a geographic region where residents rank at the bottom in health outcomes for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and lack of physical activity.”
— Dr. Charles Faulkner, Associate Professor of Veterinary Medicine, Lincoln Memorial University
The study’s investigators expect that the model will indicate whether pets share the same health effects as their owners.