There are several studies addressing this very question. Although many of the benefits associated with a service dog cannot be monetized, one study on how animal-assisted interventions help adolescents with mental health issues suggests that there is considerable potential monetary benefit in addition to therapeutic benefits. According to the report:
- “Improved facilitation engagement, retention and compliance can have a considerable impact on the financial burden imposed by mental health care […]."
- "Similarly, improvements in therapist and staff morale resulting from [animal-assisted interventions] can have important impacts on the quality and continuity of patient care.”
- Another study estimated the lifetime per capita incremental societal cost (direct medical and non-medical care, lost wages, adult care, etc.) for a person with autism in the United States, and they estimated the cost to be $3.2 million per person(!).
- The cost of lifelong care for autism can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention.
At Pawsitivity, our conclusion is that if your family is a good fit for a Service Dog, the benefits of living with a Service Dog (including financial benefits) outweigh the other factors.