The human-companion animal bond: how humans benefit

Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 2009 Mar;39(2):293-326. doi: 10.1016/j.cvsm.2008.10.015.


The human-animal bond is extremely important to most clients of small animal veterinary practices. Pet ownership, or just being in the presence of a companion animal, is associated with health benefits, including improvements in mental, social, and physiologic health status. This article provides the research data regarding the human health benefits of companion animals, animal-assisted therapy, animal-assisted activities, and assistance animals; reviews measures that can be taken to enable safe pet ownership for the immunocompromised, and discusses the veterinarian's role in supporting immune-compromised clients and clients who have assistance animals. Client education and enhanced veterinary care can reduce the risk from zoonotic diseases, even for the immunocompromised.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic / psychology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology
  • Human-Animal Bond*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Social Behavior
  • Social Isolation / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Zoonoses