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Animal ownership in low-income households: Is here a relationship between human and animal food insecurity?

Rauktis, Mary and Lee, Hyunji (2019) Animal ownership in low-income households: Is here a relationship between human and animal food insecurity? Project Report. UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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This study examined the relationship between owning a pet and experiencing food insecurity in low-income households using self-administered surveys (N=392) and in-depth interviews (N=15). The study found that low-income pet owners were not at greater risk for being food insecure. In fact, having a pet associated with better food security than when people did not own a pet. The cross-sectional design limits causal explanation. It is possible that people who are very food insecure choose not to accept stray animals into their homes or do not adopt or re-home animals from shelters or family members (typically how owners acquired pets). However, another explanation supported by the interviews is that having a pet or pets activates or motivates people to manage their food needs and to work harder at keeping food on the table and in the bowl. Owners may be activated or motivated to do things such as go to the pantry and manage the household finances so that they can continue to care for their pets. Moreover, having a pet provides emotional and social support benefits, particularly for older adults and those with disabilities. Pets give a sense of routine and for dog owners, motivate physical exercise. However, owners did share their human food when they did not have pet-food. Other potential deleterious impacts were grief following the death of beloved pets and financial concerns about current and future veterinary care.


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Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rauktis, Marymar104@pitt.edumar104
Lee, HyunjiHYL34@pitt.eduhyl34
Monograph Type: Project Report
Date: 21 January 2019
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Department: Social Work
Schools and Programs: College of General Studies
Refereed: No
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2019 18:40
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 18:40


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