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Paw-sitive Effects: Human-Animal Bond Could Benefit Both Pet and Pet Owners

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Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

According to the North American Veterinary Community, some 85 million families have a pet. Americans spent about $40 billion on animal health care last year. In return, pets may improve our quality of life, health and become a part of our family. Tom Bohn, CEO of the North American Veterinary Community, and Dr. Lynn R. Honeckman, a local veterinarian behaviorist, sat down with Matthew Peddie to talk about the human-animal connection pets families can have.

“You always see the stories about service dogs and all the heroics and all the incredible things that they’re doing to support people with PTSD and other types of things. But the reality is that they’re helping people everyday within their families. We’ve been working with the Human-Animal Bond focus of this whole thing which is really showing that pets have significant positive health impacts across the board,” said Bohn.

“We’re talking about reduced blood pressure, better commitment to taking their medications.”

The NAVC offers a Human Animal Bond certification which trains veterinarian and staff to help build and maintain a good and healthy relationship between pet and pet parents. Dr. Lynn R. Honeckman  spoke to us about the certification and its use.

“What it will allow is for everyone to understand the role the animals play in our lives. And from a behavior aspect, we see the results from that broken relationship. So when a pet has behavior problems, we see a deterioration of the human-pet bond and that’s exactly what we’re talking about. And if we can understand our pets better, if we can understand that maybe they were abandoned at some point, maybe they didn’t have the right kind of start in life, maybe they came from a puppy mill, and so they have issues.” Dr. Honeckman said.

“And if we can understand those issues, and we can address them from a medical standpoint and not just think of them as naughty or bad dogs, then we can help enhance that bond, and we can be on a better playing field or understanding of what do the humans need in this relationship, what does the pet need in this relationship, and how do we serve everybody.”

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