Human-Animal Bond Statistics

Since the 1980s, a host of studies have established the importance of the bond between people and their animal companions. Here are some of the results:

Dog guardians are more likely to survive after a heart attack. (More recent, larger-scale studies have confirmed the association between animal guardianship and better health.)

A 1990 study found that Medicare participants with animal companions made fewer doctors' visits.

100 percent of animal guardians polled said they turn to their pets for emotional support, sometimes instead of friends, and 84 percent think animals react to their guardians’ emotions.

At the University of Pennsylvania, social work services have been available to bereaved pet guardians since 1978.

According to a WALTHAM survey, 78 percent of animal guardians think of their animals as their children, and 84 percent display photos of them, mostly in their homes.

Animals seem to hold a special place in our hearts even for non-animal households. 67 percent of survey respondents, including those who have no animal companions, have helped a lost animal or donated to an animal welfare organization.

An estimated 1 million dogs in the United States have been named the primary beneficiary in their guardian's will.

Most animal guardians (94 percent) say their animal companion makes them smile more than once a day.

Seventy percent of people sign their animal companion's name on greeting cards and 58 percent include them in family and holiday portraits, according to a survey done by the American Animal Hospital Association.

Fifty-two percent of people agreed with the statement, “People often react more strongly to stories regarding animals in need than to similar stories about humans.”

There are over 100 million dogs and cats in homes across America. As many as 80 percent of these households describe their animal companions as family members.

100 percent of animal guardians talk to their pets.

97 percent of animal guardians think pets understand what they are saying.

78 percent of animal guardians speak for their pets, imagining what they might say.

28 percent of animal guardians think about their pets 5-10 times a day.

53 percent of animal guardians have taken off work at least once to tend to a sick animal companion.

Read the Guardian Campaign Mission Statement & Goals