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Study Shows Pets Are Commonly Viewed as Family Members

A bunch of different animals.

Photo credit cynoclub for Adobe Stock

More than 16,000 pet owners and 1,200 veterinarians from eight countries participated in a 2022 study by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute to gain a deeper understanding of how the human-animal bond impacts pet owner behaviors and veterinarians. About 95 percent of pet owners considered their pets part of the family and 76 percent said they would make major life changes for their pets.

In the study, more than 98 percent of pet owners reported at least one health benefit from their pets, such as increased happiness, less stress and decreased loneliness. This human-animal bond is listed as the reason why 95 percent of vets entered the profession, with 71 percent believing that discussing this bond is valuable because it improves both human and animal physical, emotional and mental health.

In addition to the traditional treatment plans of regular check-ups, healthy diet and exercise, alternative methods of strengthening human and animal body, mind and spirit are coming to the forefront, like acupuncture and reiki for all species. Animal reiki specifically targets the human-animal bond assisting communication between pets and caregivers to be clear, thus strengthening heart-to-heart connections and healing old wounds.

Mary Walters is the owner of of EnergyGirl. For more information, visit and