How Your Dog Saves You Money

Our canine pets offer a superb return on the investment.


The cost of caring for a dog can be alarming if you don’t have pet health insurance. Even something as simple as a routine vet visit with some blood work can easily cost well over $100 — or $200. But the savings that come with dog ownership far outweigh the costs.

Research conducted for the Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative by George Mason University in Virginia found that dog owners in the U.S. collectively save almost $12 billion a year on their own healthcare costs. Most of that comes from the fact that they need fewer doctor’s visits than non-dog owners. Why?

  • Lower triglyceride levels. That means fewer heart problems, which translates to even more savings because of fewer drugs needed to combat those heart problems.
  • Less stress. The lower your stress level, the lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and other determinants of health.
  • Less obesity. The incidence of obesity for active dog owners was found to be 5 percent lower than for non-dog people. It may not sound like much, but it translates to an estimated 1 million fewer cases of obesity in the U.S. Obesity raises the risk for costly illnesses that include heart disease and diabetes and also increases the chance for more pain and debilitation from conditions like arthritis. Notably, when the researchers crunched the numbers, they found that dog walking alone saved an annual $419 million in human healthcare costs. Since the study was conducted several years ago, the savings may be even higher now.

Along with money, dogs save lives. As far back as 1980, a study showed an association between pet ownership and long-term survival after a heart attack. Other research has indicated that nursing home residents who have contact with pets have a much lower rate of infection from bacteria that are resistant to multiple drugs, saving not only lives but also the money it costs to heal difficult-to-treat infections. It appears, in other words, that having a dog around literally boosts immunity and thereby protects from various illnesses. There’s even research to suggest that exposure to dogs early in life reduces the risk that a child will have an allergy to pets by the time he or she turns 18.
We still think you should purchase heath insurance for your dog. At some point she’s going to get sick — no one goes through life never falling ill. And the bill could be high, in some cases staggering. But it’s good to know that while you pay to extend your dog’s health — and life — she’s doing the same for you, and saving you money in the process.


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