No Bone to Pick Here: Carrot Heath’s Research Suggests Dog Ownership Can Positively Impact Health

Posted in News on Friday, February 26, 2021.

No Bone to Pick Here: Carrot Heath’s Research Suggests Dog Ownership Can Positively Impact Health

There’s a popular bumper sticker floating around with a picture of a dog that asks, “Who Rescued Who?” Because while shelter dogs benefit from adoption, their owners receive a great deal in return, too — and our innovative client, Carrot Health, has provided the data to back up that sentiment.

Using its Social Risk Grouper™ (SRG) scores, which is a way of measuring social determinants of health risk (SDoH) for every adult in the country, Carrot Health analyzed the population of dog owners and non-dog owners. Overall, the study found that dog owners are 4% less risky when it comes to adverse SDoH, which are defined as non-clinical conditions where people are born, and where they live, work and age.

Drilling down the data, Carrot Health found that owning a dog can reduce the risk of experiencing loneliness by 7%. Loneliness can have a negative impact on a person’s physical and mental health, which is important to consider as many continue to quarantine and self-isolate in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In fact, according to data the ASPCA shared from PetPoint, animal adoption skyrocketed to 85% by the end of March 2020, which is when the pandemic and lockdowns began.

“With so much uncertainty and instability, animals provide people, especially children, with unconditional love, support, and comfort as well as serve as a distraction,” Rachael Silverman,  a psychologist specializing in couple and family psychology who often prescribes emotional support animals for patients, told Time Magazine.

This may explain why dog owners are 23% more likely to have transportation needs, according to Carrot Health’s research—for folks who don’t have the means to get in a car and drive to visit family and friends, they can lean on a furry, four-legged friend for companionship.

Carrot Health acknowledges the link between dog ownership and health risks are speculative—however, clinical research has shown that dog ownership can cut down on stress, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It’s no wonder that Time Magazine named rescue dogs—and all rescue animals—the 2020 Pet of the Year.

So, who rescued who? The data shows that when it comes to dogs and their owners, their relationship is a treat each can share equally.

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