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Research News

Survey Measuring the Effects of Dog Ownership on Quality of Life

By Ashley Berke Published: Apr 22, 2015

[April 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA] – Does owning a dog improve one’s quality of life? Experts in Penn Vet’s Cardiology Service, in partnership with researchers at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, are currently validating a survey specifically designed to answer this question. 

Up to 300 dog owners are needed to answer the Dog Owner Quality of Life Survey, which concentrates on 10 different aspects of everyday life that are important between dogs and their owners, and how they might positively or negatively affect quality of life. Responses will enable researchers to fine-tune the survey before making it more widely available. 

“There are relatively few studies looking at the potential effects, both positive and negative, of pet ownership on humans,” said Dr. Mark Oyama, Professor of Cardiology at Penn Vet. “We’re looking forward to better understanding the effects of dog ownership, intervention, and animal-assisted therapy on quality of life.”   

Previous studies have shown that a variety of physical health benefits are associated with dog ownership, including increased physical activity, decreased blood pressure, and increased survival following cardiac surgery. Studies also have shown that dog ownership is associated with psychological benefits, including decreased anxiety and social isolation and improved self-esteem and social support. Relatively few studies have examined the effect of dog ownership on overall quality of life or have tried to balance the potentially positive aspects of ownership with more negative aspects, such as increased responsibility or damage to property or belongings.

For more information, click here. Dog owners interested in taking the Dog Owner Quality of Life Survey can access it at: https://redcap.med.upenn.edu/surveys/?s=4KuXHdJjHp. Participants will be asked to provide some general information, including their birth year, zip code, and home environment. No specific identifying information, such as their name or address, will be collected. The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete. There is no compensation for participation. 

About Penn Vet

Penn Vet is a global leader in veterinary medicine education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the only veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health Initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, handling more than 31,000 patient visits a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. The hospital handles more than 4,000 patient visits a year, while the Field Service treats nearly 36,000 patients at local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.