Pet ownership boosts confidence in kids

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Caring for a pet really is a childhood rite of passage. Anyone that has grown up with, and loved a family pet intrinsically feels the value of their companionship.

The experience creates lifelong memories.

But while it's obvious that having a pet is an exciting milestone, did you know it can also positively affect your child in a much more profound way?

New research from The University of Liverpool was recently published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and funded by the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition shows that a child's social, emotional and cognitive development can all be encouraged by interaction with the family pet.

Youngsters with pets tend to have greater self-esteem, less loneliness, and enhanced social skills. This research adds strength to claims that household pets can help support healthy child development.   

Researchers carried out an in-depth review and quality evaluation of studies investigating the effects of pet ownership on emotional, educational or behavioural development in children and adolescents.

Critical ages for the impact of pet ownership on self-esteem, appear to be greatest for children under 6, and preadolescents and adolescents over 10.

Generally dogs and cats are deemed to be the best providers of social support, perhaps due to a higher level of interaction and reciprocation in comparison to other pets.

Dr Kate Mornement, Animal Behaviourist, says that pets may act as a form of psychological support, helping youths feel good about themselves and enabling a positive self-image.

“Pets provide children with amazing social support, through their companionship and friendship, helping them feel good whilst also teaching children about empathy and taking care of others.”

 

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Walking the dog helps keep owners healthy and neighbourhoods feeling safe

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An international study recently published in BMC Public Health and carried out by Australian researchers from The University of Western Australia (UWA) has found dog walkers are not only physically active on more days of the week but that walking the dog can help people in their neighbourhood feel safer.

It is the first international study of its kind to consistently examine the relationship between dog walking, physical activity and people’s perception of safety in their community.

The research, conducted by Dr Hayley Christian in collaboration with the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition,part of Mars Incorporated, found that people who walked their dog achieved at least 30 minutes of physical activity on more days per week than non-dog walkers, helping them to meet the 150 minutes of physical activity per week recommended for good health

More than 1000 dog owners from Perth, Australia and three US cities (San Diego, Nashville and Portland) were surveyed in the Pet Connections study.

Almost 60 per cent of dog walkers in Australia and the US reported feeling safer when walking with their dog and women who walked their dogs were more likely than men to feel safer.

Hayley Christian, from UWA’s School of Population Health who led the study said the results demonstrated the physical and social benefits of dog walking.

“In all four cities dog owners walked their dog 5 to 6 times a week for more than 90 minutes a week,” said Dr Hayley Christian said.

“Dog walkers were also more than three times more likely to walk in their neighbourhood, suggesting that dog walking helps you get to know your local area and neighbours.

Dr Christian said dog walkers regularly out in their neighbourhood became the ‘eyes and ears on the street’.

“This natural surveillance provides opportunities for people to interact, and monitor their neighbourhood and notice unusual behaviour, which can help deter local crime and make people feel safer,” she said.

Dr Christian said the study highlighted the physical and social benefits for individuals and communities of pet ownership and the need to integrate dog walking into health programs and policies.

 

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Keeping Australia Pet Friendly with The Village Vets

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The stars of the LifeStyle Channel's hit show The Village Vets Anthony Bennett and James Carroll chat about why they support Dr Chris Brown and the Keep Australia Pet Friendly campaign.

Browsing the internet and seeing the cult following that our furry friends are garnering on social media and the almost guaranteed success of any you-tube video involving a cute cat, it’s hard to believe that dog and cat ownership in Australia is declining, but surprisingly that is the case.

A quick snap poll around our vet clinic garnered absolute surprise at this fact, but research is showing that cat numbers fell by 200,000 or approximately 15% and dog numbers by 100,000 or approximately 2.5%.

This trend is alarming given how important pets have been shown in improving people’s physical and mental health and well being. Through their ability to keep us active (dogs aren’t too fussed that it’s raining and cold – they want that walk anyway!) and interacting (anyone who has been single for an extended period of time has probably had a dog thrust upon them by a well meaning relative as a great way of meeting people), pets have been proven to be great allies in day to day life – particularly some of the more challenging phases we may encounter.

 After calming down from their initial shock everyone asked the obvious question – why? Various reasons have been espoused to explain what may be occurring. It’s worth noting that the population of pets is also ageing, much as our human population is, so this is likely that we are seeing the start of a trend with older dogs and cats not being replaced with puppies and kittens.

Firstly, not all of the places that we live are pet friendly. With increasing housing density more and more of us are living in apartments. This means that not all of us are able to keep a pet, in whatever form that may take. Importantly, government reform has started to take place, with NSW recently changing the default position to allowing pets in strata in the standard strata by-laws.  Apartment living is never easy but with careful management and a little effort it is very easy to have pets in strata and keep all the inhabitants happy.

Responsible pet ownership is a really important point. In the dozen years that we have been practicing as vets, adherence to responsible pet ownership laws has dramatically improved, and the landscape has changed significantly with far less issues pervading in general. What this means in practice is that we take ownership and what that entails seriously, however it’s important that there isn’t too much red tape stopping people enjoying the benefits of pet ownership.

As a society, we believe that it is really important that we embrace pet ownership as something that is entrenched in what we do. For many people pets form an important part of their family and an enormous part of their lifestyle. And who wouldn’t want to embrace something that will improve your self esteem, health and activity levels. The more we can set up pet friendly spaces, cafe’s, off leash areas and ways to celebrate pet ownership, the more of these benefits will flow on to society.

And at the end of the day, good or bad, fun filled or lousy, stressful or relaxed, what could be better to come home to than the cat curled up on the couch waiting for your arrival or the wagging tail of your four- legged friend. The companionship of any form of pet ownership is invaluable – and these social media juggernauts aren’t going to feed themselves!

You can follow the campaign on social media here: https://www.facebook.com/keepauspetfriendly/ and don't forget to share your stories and photos with us using #KeepAusPetFriendly

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It's healthy to put out the welcome mat for our pets

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An open letter by Dr Chris Brown to Australia

Australia, we need to talk.

If I’m honest, this has been coming for a while. But right now, I feel like we’re at a crossroads in our relationship. My biggest fear? That if we don’t speak up we might just lose our supposed best mates from our lives. Along with all the benefits this friendship brings.

I am, of course, talking about the hairiest and possibly happiest members of our community — our pets. The scruffy, slobbery and occasionally clumsy masters of unconditional love.

But here’s the issue. While our pets might love us, our cities’ attitudes to pets is often far from caring.

Most of our cities and towns have now become so non-inclusive of pets that a simple walk is more akin to a stroll through a minefield of potential fines, infringements and criticism. Or they’re simply not welcome at all — there are entire suburbs that ban cat ownership.

And without someone speaking up, we might just regulate pets out of our lives.

Sadly, this is already having an ­effect. For the first time in Australia’s history, pet populations are falling significantly. In just 12 months, cat populations have declined by 200,000 and dog numbers have dropped by 100,000. When you compare us to other countries around the world where ownership is increasing, our decline stands out like a dog’s ... well, you know.

So why is this such a problem?

Quite simply, pets make us happy. They wash away our worries while showing us how life should be lived. And pets are proven to also make us healthier.

Research shows that having a pet in your home means children are less likely to catch colds, need antibiotics or develop asthma. And throughout life having a furry family member leads to more exercise, lower blood pressure, fewer visits to the doctor, ­better cardiovascular health and an easing of loneliness.

So not only do pets make great personal trainers, they are hairy health care professionals. Every day, I see how beneficial pets are for all kinds of people, on a ­physical, mental and emotional level. If we lose pets from our communities then the health cost to all of us could be huge.

Having pet-friendly places is one of the best ways to support pets and their owners.

But a study last year into the pet-friendliness of Australian cities produced worryingly low results across the board — and Sydney came in at the bottom. We might be a nation of pet lovers but our cities are certainly not very pet-friendly. The time has come in 2016 for Australia to catch up to the rest of the world.

Rather than focusing on potential problems of pets, nations throughout Europe and North America seem more willing to embrace all the positives they provide. Not only do pets have more exercise areas to let out that excess energy, they’re also ­accepted travel companions (on planes, trains and buses), dining companions (at ­restaurants and cafes) and even hotel guests.

They’ve made these changes and haven’t suffered with piles of poo or hurricanes of pet hair ruining their streets. That’s because owners feel the pressure to be responsible. More ­relaxed pet laws are seen as a privilege.

Over the next six months, I will be reaching out to all Australians through social media, visiting communities of pet lovers and speaking to all levels of government to raise awareness of these issues to see what can be done.

As a start, we need more pet-­friendly rental properties, transport, cafes and outdoor spaces.

Let’s stand up for creatures that ­repeatedly stand up for us. We must act now or risk losing our best mates and all the benefits they bring forever.

So, together, let’s #keepauspetfriendly before it’s too late.

Follow the campaign's official Facebook page, Keep Australia Pet Friendly: https://www.facebook.com/keepauspetfriendly/?fref=ts 

 

 

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No longer just man’s best friend: Hearts Aligned campaign celebrates the incredible bond between owner and dog

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We’ve all heard dogs referred to as man’s best friend, but the age old moniker continues to ring true. There is nothing quite like the bond between a dog and their owner. Whether it’s their devotion, loyalty or calm nature, dog owners everywhere will tell you any situation can be made better simply by having your dog nearby.

This unique bond has been displayed on both the small and big screens from blockbuster hits like Lassie or Marley & Me to favourite afternoon programming like Snoopy and Scooby Doo. Dogs are no longer just ‘man’s best friend’ but often the star of the show. It is clear that our furry friends not only hold a special place in our own hearts, but have become an integral part of our lives and community.

In celebration of this incredible bond, leading global brand Pedigree has launched a new campaign called Hearts Aligned. The project aims to demonstrate some of the health benefits of dog ownership and highlight just how powerful the connection really is between an owner and their trusted canine companion.

In an Australian-first, the Hearts Aligned project follows three real-life Australian pet owners as they participate in a demonstration showing howdogs help reduce stress levels and improve our lives.The owner’s and dog’s heartbeats actually slow down and synchronise when together.

Participants Glenn and his Australian Shepherd Lyric know first-hand the positive impact pet ownership can have. After experiencing a work injury, Glen went through three years of intense stress, anxiety and depression. Glen credits Lyric’s companionship as helping him breakthrough this time and Lyric continues to help him overcome mental health challenges every day.

Research shows pet owners have greater self-esteem, undertake more exercise, fare better on measures of wellbeing and are better able to cope with social rejection than non-pet owners. Pet ownership has also been shown to act as a buffer from stressful situations and events, particularly in old age.

This is important in light of recent research which shows that 90% of Australians need to stress less, with 74% of people feeling stressed because of work.If stress lasts a long time or overwhelms a person it can negatively impact their health, wellbeing, relationships, work and general enjoyment of life.

Mia Cobb, Canine Scientist and demonstration co-conductor, commented on the impact the special relationship can have on the health and wellbeing of a dog owner.

“There is decades of research showing how dogs can help their owners stay both physically and emotionally healthy. Hearts Aligned aims to showcase the special bond we have with our dogs and to celebrate that,” said Ms Cobb.

Dr Craig Duncan, leading Sports Scientist, commented on the implication of the demonstration results saying, “I look at stress and anxiety and how it affects human performance on a daily basis. I also know personally the incredible toll it can take on your health. My own heart attack was brought on by stress and it nearly killed me. The Hearts Aligned project aims to show how pet ownership can help us positively deal with the stressors of daily life.”

The video and demonstration clearly show what many have suspected – the bond we share with our furry friends flows much deeper then we even realise.

The full Hearts Aligned video can be viewed at www.pedigree.com.au.

Australians are encouraged to share their own dog photos using the official hashtag #HeartsAligned.

Each post on Facebook will trigger a $1 donation from Pedigree to national rescue organisation Pet Rescue up to $20,000. The campaign will run until the end of May 2016.

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#CATHACKS campaign shows how to DIY your way to a cat-friendly home

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It’s no secret, cats and their curious antics have been sweeping the globe. From the moment the first ‘cat video’ was posted online in 2005, the worldwide phenomenon has gained notoriety as one of the world’s leading addictive pastimes. With more than two million cat videos available on YouTube, and a total of over a collective 25 billion views, the average cat video is estimated to be watched over 12,000 times leading to hours of entertainment. We certainly love our feline friends.

Close on its heels comes the do-it-yourself culture, more commonly referred to as DIY. Visually-based social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are thought to have played a major role in the rise of DIY channels dedicated solely to showcasing everyday ways of ‘sprucing’ up everday items. The rise of these videos have turned DIY into a movement that’s fascinating us. 

Meet #CatHacks, a new campaign launched by WHISKAS Australia, ained at merging these two phenomenon to celebrate the curious nature of our feline friends.

Playing off the popular concept of “life-hacking”, Cat Hacks aims to showcase how everday items can be easily turned into more cat friendly pieces of furniture.

WHISKAS has developed a series of 15 second microfilm tutorials, showcasing easy ways to build cat-friendly furniture out of pieces already found in the average home. The cat hacks featured include a climbable cat cubby, home entertainment system, coffee table cat hammock, scratch frame, wall clock feeder and exercise wheel. Cats can truly have the run of the house with these cosy and trendy new additions.

Cat Hacks aren’t just a fun way to spend a weekend learning DIY skills. Studies show it may also improve your feline friend’s emotional well-being. Research has shown that indoor cats maintain their natural behaviours and will often scratch, chew and climb their surroundings – often to the dismay of their loving owner. Referred to as ‘environment enrichment’, feline-friendly furniture such as these cat hacks help maintain your cat’s natural curiosity, while keeping you happy as well!

The WHISKAS Cat Hack ranges include:

Cat Hack 1:The Hammock. Learn how minimalist design meets maximum feline comfort in a few really easy steps. This design means you can admire your cat’s beauty for even longer. Framed like a little piece  of art under your glass-top table as she purrs in a little table-leg hammock.

 

Cat Hack 2: The Lookout. Curious cats love high-up hideaways, so here’s a simple way to turn your bookcase into a stairway to heaven. This design allows your cat to climb to a little cubby house at the top of your wall-mounted library or display cabinet – from where they can look down on you as the subordinate you are.

 

Cat Hack 3: The Home Entertainment System. Curious cats will discover human furniture is never as fun as the box it comes in. Is it a car? Is it a cave? Is it a safe space with only one way in and out? Yes, it’s all that and more. Give your furry friend the gift of the thing good gifts come in: an open cardboard box.

 

Cat Hack 4: The Clock Feeder. Turn your everyday wall clock into a sophisticated meal distribution system for your four-legged friend. This time–dependent food dispenser uses the mechanics of a clock to keep your cat fed during the day - while you’re toiling at work.

 

Cat Hack 5: The Exercise Wheel. Transform two household items into a nifty spinning device so your four-legged friend can stretch their legs.  This Hack is for weight-conscious, highrise pussy cats that can’t get out for their workout.

 

Cat Hack 6: The Scratch Frame. Follow these easy steps if your cat need a new canvas to perfect the art of scratch-post modernism. Watch as your cat redefines art appreciation (and saves your sofa).

So this weekend, grab your tools and build your way to a more cat-friendly home. Share your own cat hacks with us on social media using #CatHacks.

Visit www.facebook.com.au/whiskas to see all the videos.

 

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Media Release: Pets the best antidote for a lonely heart this Valentine’s Day

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Cat and dog owners at a love advantage on Feb 14th

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner there is some good news for single pet owners across Australia. A recent study1 suggests pets may be the secret to finding love, with the majority of women surveyed more likely to be attracted to someone who owns a pet.

 

The research1 also indicates that women analyse a date’s relationship with their pet to gauge potential parenting and partnering skills. The majority (74%) of women surveyed said they would refuse to date someone who didn’t like pets. The men surveyed did not discriminate as much, but some knew the power of pet ownership with 21% using their dog or cat to attract a potential mate.

 

The good news extends to physical health as well. Research by the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, owned by Mars, shows pet owners reap a number of heart-related health benefits. Published studies show pets can reduce stress levels and blood pressure2 and improve patient survival after a heart attack3.

 

For unsuccessful Romeos, pet owners have been shown to have greater self-esteem and are better able to cope with social rejection compared to non-pet owners4. Pet ownership can also help alleviate feelings of isolation5.

 

Experts believe contact with companion animals, such as cats and dogs, is one possible solution to helping improve overall health, encourage friendship, and yes, even possibly romance.

 

Lisa Maguire, Mars Petcare spokesperson for Pet Positives, said:"There’s no need for single Australians to feel lonely or down this Valentine’s Day. Research into human-animal interaction shows pets can give their owners numerous physical and psychological benefits, which extends into meeting people and potential partners.”

 

“Therefore the first step in curing a lonely heart might be finding the right pet and meeting other pet lovers, some of whom may also be single,” said Lisa Maguire.

 

The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, owned by Mars, has been a leading scientific authority on pet nutrition and wellbeing for fifty years.

 

ENDS

 

 

More information and interview requests contact:

 

Ishtar Schneider                                              Sonya Friesen

Palin Communications                                    Palin Communications

02 9412 2255 / 0422 944 023                         02 9412 2255 / 0423 495 392  

ishtar@palin.com.au                                      sonya@palin.com.au

 

Ben Seal

Palin Communications

02 9412 2255 / 0402 386 392

ben@palin.com.au

References

  1. Peter B. Gray, Shelly L. Volsche, Justin R. Garcia & Helen E. Fisher (2015) The Roles of Pet Dogs and Cats in Human Courtship and Dating, Anthrozoös, 28:4, 673-683. (available here)
  2. Levine et al., (2013) Pet ownership and cardiovascular risk: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation 127:2353–2363 (available here)
  3. Friedmann et al., (2013) Pet's presence and owner's blood pressures during the daily lives of pet owners with pre- to mild hypertension. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People & Animals, Volume 26, Number 4, December 2013, pp. 535-550(16) (available here)
  4. McConnell, AR, Brown, CM, Shoda, TM, Stayton, LE, Martin, CE, 2011, ‘Friends with benefits: on the positive consequences of pet ownership’, Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, vol.101, no.6, pp.1239-1252
  5. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci(2002) 57 (7): M428-M432. (available here)

 

Notes to Editors:

Mars Petcare Australia

Mars Petcare is the world’s leading pet food and veterinary care business that strives to make A Better World for Pets® every day. Mars Petcare believes that pets make our lives better and that pet ownership brings joy and benefits which should be accessible to everyone. Mars Petcare has a number of leading brands including PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, DINE®, ADVANCE®, OPTIMUM®, SCHMACKOS® ROYAL CANIN®, EUKANUBA® IAMS®. Key specialty brands include the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition®, a leading scientific authority on pet nutrition and wellbeing.  Mars Petcare has more than 37,000 Associates worldwide.

 

Follow Mars Petcare’s Pet Positive campaign on Twitter and Instagram:

www.twitter.com/PetPositives

www.instagram.com/PetPositives

 

The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition

The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition is a leading scientific authority in pet nutrition and wellbeing and has been advancing the frontiers of scientific research into the nutrition and health of pets for over 50 years. Located in Leicestershire, England, the renowned state-of-the-art science institute focuses on the nutritional and behavioural needs of pets and their benefits to humans, enabling the development of innovative products which meet these needs in a practical way. In collaboration with the world’s foremost scientific institutes, WALTHAM has pioneered many important breakthroughs in pet understanding and nutrition and leverages this knowledge through Mars Petcare brands to make a better world for pets.

 

 

 

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MEDIA RELEASE: Dr Chris Brown makes Christmas wish for responsible pet ownership

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Channel 10 star urges Australians to build long and happy relationships with their pets

Bondi Vet Dr Chris Brown has made a wish this Christmas for people to be responsible pet owners, whether they currently have a pet or are considering their first companion animal this festive period.

Experts advise that while pet ownership is extremely rewarding, it is a long term commitment that should not be taken lightly. Tens of thousands of unwanted pets are surrendered to animal shelters each year, with many abandoned not long after Christmas when some pets lose their initial novelty and appeal. Despite the best efforts of organisations like PetRescue, many unwanted pets are humanely put down if new homes cannot be found.

According to veterinarian Dr Chris Brown, “There’s nothing better than a pet’s love and affection, but don’t forget they will want the same in return. Pet owners have a responsibility to look after their pet for the rest of its life, which means there are a number of considerations before they are bought or given as a present.”

Whether it’s a cuddly pug or a fluffy Persian you’ve got in mind, there are some important factors to consider before giving a pet this Christmas. The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition has put together advice on building long and happy relationships with your pet.

Checklist for a Long and Happy Relationship with your Pet:

Checklist for a Long and Happy Relationship with your Pet:

 

  1. Pet selection

ð       Selecting the right pet for your living situation, environment, future plans, activity level, lifestyle, budget and available time is critically important.

ð       Becoming educated about the needs, life spans and temperaments of various species and breeds will help you make an informed choice.

ð       It is important to appreciate the nutritional, behavioural and health needs of any pet species to ensure that their welfare is not compromised.

ð       It is also important to spend time with a potential pet before deciding to welcome it into the family.

 

  1. Socialisation

ð       Providing adequate socialisation, particularly to puppies and kittens, is critical to ensuring a pet’s long-term well-being.

ð       Pets who are inadequately socialised cannot relax and enjoy life, and are frequently stressed by even minor events.

ð       Poorly socialised dogs and cats are less likely to make rewarding pets.

 

  1. Training

ð       In addition to socialisation, training is particularly important for dogs. If a dog is expected to behave in a certain way, such as relieving themselves outside, then you have to teach them how to successfully meet those expectations.

ð       Obedience classes and puppy classes are widely available, as are instructional books and other resources.

ð       In addition to teaching basic obedience, group classes offer excellent opportunities for puppy socialisation.

ð       Training is a great means of building the bond between you and your pet.

 

  1. Nutrition

ð       Providing a healthy, nutritious, high-quality diet is important to ensuring a long and healthy life for your pet.

ð       Diets that are suitable for humans rarely provide the nutritional balance that dogs and cats require, so it is best to avoid giving them ‘people food’.

ð       Some common ingredients in human food can be toxic to cats and dogs, including chocolate, grapes, raisins and onions.

ð       One way to ensure that all essential nutrient requirements are met is to feed pets a complete and balanced manufactured diet. In most cases, these diets are based on decades of scientific research and expertise, and are carefully designed to provide the right amount of nutrients according to a pet’s life-stage or lifestyle.

 

  1. Veterinary care

ð       Just like people, pets need regular medical and dental care.

ð       Vaccinations are especially important for puppies and kittens, but are needed at regular intervals for pets of all ages.

ð       Regular check-ups and preventative care for problems like heartworms and fleas also help to ensure a pet’s health and well-being.

ð       Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases in dogs, and can result in pain, tooth loss and chronic infections.

ð       Dental care not only helps to prevent periodontal disease, it may also be beneficial to a pet’s general health.

 

For those prepared to make the commitment, Mars Petcare has created a useful online Find a Dog or Cat tool atwww.petpositives.com.au. The tool takes into consideration house or unit size, location, access to a garden, and free time to look after the pet to identify breeds of cat or dog that might be suitable. But, just like people, animals are individuals with unique personalities and temperaments. Therefore, simply choosing a breed with an affable reputation (e.g. a golden retriever) does not guarantee a good match for a particular family or living situation. Speaking to a reputable breeders or visiting a pet adoption centre are good ways to find the perfect pets to suit a variety of lifestyles.

Research by WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition suggests that pets offer a range of physical and emotional benefits to their owners from childhood well into old age.1 Australian researchers are also at the forefront of studies into pets increasing exercise levels. A study by the University of Western Australia found that dog owners increase their recreational walking by 31 minutes per week and are more likely to meet the recommended levels of exercise than non-dog owners.2  In a separate study, dog owners were five times more likely to get to know people in their neighborhood compared with other pet owners.3

Dr Sandra McCune, Scientific Leader on Human-Animal Interaction at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, said:“This special relationship benefits both humans and pets and goes beyond mere companionship. People see their pets as important members of their families. It is our responsibility to take care of them and provide them with loving, safe and happy homes, good healthcare and nutrition, and proper training and socialisation.”

The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, owned by Mars, has been a leading scientific authority on pet nutrition and wellbeing for fifty years. In 2014 alone, WALTHAM published 46 peer reviewed scientific papers.

ENDS

More information and interview requests contact:

 

Ben Seal                                       Katherine Kalas

Palin Communications                     Palin Communications

0402 386 392                                 0404 496 260  

ben@palin.com.au                           katherine@palin.com.au

 

References

  1. Friedmann E, Barker SB, Allen KM. Physiological correlates of health benefits from pets. In: McCardle P, McCune S, Griffin JA, Maholmes V, eds. How Animals Affect Us: Examining the Influence of Human-Animal Interaction of Child Development and Human Health. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; 2011:163-82.
  2. Cutt, HE, Knuiman, MW, Giles-Corti, B, 2008, ‘Does getting a dog increase recreational walking?’, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, vol. 5. pp. 17-27.
  3. Wood L, Martin K, Christian H, Nathan A, Lauritsen C, Houghton S, et al. (2015) The Pet Factor - Companion Animals as a Conduit for Getting to Know People, Friendship Formation and Social Support. PLoS ONE 10(4): e0122085. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0122085

 

Notes to Editors:

Mars Petcare Australia

Mars Petcare is the world’s leading pet food and veterinary care business that strives to make A Better World for Pets® every day. Mars Petcare believes that pets make our lives better and that pet ownership brings joy and benefits which should be accessible to everyone. Mars Petcare has a number of leading brands including PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, DINE®, ADVANCE®, OPTIMUM®, SCHMACKOS® ROYAL CANIN®, EUKANUBA® IAMS®. Key specialty brands include the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition®, a leading scientific authority on pet nutrition and wellbeing.  Mars Petcare has more than 37,000 Associates worldwide.

The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition

The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition is a leading scientific authority in pet nutrition and wellbeing and has been advancing the frontiers of scientific research into the nutrition and health of pets for over 50 years. Located in Leicestershire, England, the renowned state-of-the-art science institute focuses on the nutritional and behavioural needs of pets and their benefits to humans, enabling the development of innovative products which meet these needs in a practical way. In collaboration with the world’s foremost scientific institutes, WALTHAM has pioneered many important breakthroughs in pet understanding and nutrition and leverages this knowledge through Mars Petcare brands to make a better world for pets.

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MEDIA RELEASE : Australia not very Pet Friendly

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Dr Chris Brown launches new research into the state of play for pets in Australia

Monday 9th November  – New research1 released today revealed that Australia is not as pet friendly as it needs to be to stop the decline in pet populations.

Launched by well-known Veterinarian Dr Chris Brown, the 2015 Pet Positives Score, produced by Mars Petcare has identified the most important factors that contribute to pet friendliness and reveals just how our cities stack up against them.

With recent research pointing to a decline in cat and dog populations in Australia2, experts are concerned that fewer pets could have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of Australians. Decades of research has found that pets offer a range benefits to their owners from childhood well into old age.Pet owners have been shown to exercise more3, have greater self-esteem and are able to cope with social rejection better than non-pet owners4.

Places’ being pet friendly is one of the best ways to encourage pet ownership. The Pet Positives Score ranked cities and states based on a range of 9 pet-friendly criteria with scores coming in surprisingly low across the board. Melbourne and the Gold Coast came in as the most pet friendly locations. While Sydney, regional Queensland and regional South Australia came in at the bottom of the leader board1.

Adelaide and Canberra took the title for most dog friendly cities, while Melbourne came in as most cat friendly city with a score.

Dr Chris Brown commented on the importance of addressing pet friendliness in our cities saying, “Pets can help their owners stay physically and emotionally healthy. However, there are a range of reasons that people can be deterred from pet ownership and we need to find ways to keep Australia pet-friendly so that future generations can continue to enjoy the benefits of a furry friend.”

The Pet Positives Score findings highlight the importance of improving pet friendly access to outdoor public areas, considered by far the most important attribute to pet owners4.

Sylvia Burbery, Managing Director of Mars Petcare Australia, commented on the results of the research saying, “It is clear from the Pet Positives Score results that while Australians love our pets, we aren’t doing enough to ensure that our communities and families continue to reap the benefits of pet ownership. While some cities like Melbourne have access to public transportation and a wide variety of indoor and outdoor public areas for pets, others still have a ways to go in ensuring pets stay front of mind.”

National rankings for most pet friendly area2:

 

Rank

Location

=1st

Melbourne

=1st

Gold Coast*

3rd

Canberra**

=4th

Perth

=4th

WA (not including Perth)

=4th

Newcastle***

=4th

Wollongong

=8th

Adelaide

=8th

Hobart (and wider Tasmania)

=8th

VIC (not including Melbourne)

=11th

Brisbane

=11th

NSW (not including Sydney)

=11th

ACT (not including Canberra)

=14th

QLD (not including Brisbane

and Gold Coast)

=14th

Sydney

16th

SA (not including Adelaide)

 

* includes Tweed Heads

** includes Queanbeyan

*** includes Maitland

 

Recent research1 showed that over a third of dog owners (39%) and cat owners (40%) view their pet like a family member and over a quarter of dog (36%) and cat (26%) owners see their animal like a child or a baby.

You can follow Mars Petcare’s Pet Positive campaign on Twitter and Instagram:

www.twitter.com/PetPositives

www.instagram.com/PetPositives

 

ENDS

 

More information and interview requests contact:

Ishtar Schneider                                 Sonya Friesen

Palin Communications                        Palin Communications

02 9412 2255 / 0422 944 023             02 9412 2255 / 0423 495 392  

ishtar@palin.com.au                          sonya@palin.com.au

 

About Mars Petcare Australia

Mars Petcare is the world’s leading pet food and veterinary care business that strives to make A Better World for Pets® every day. Mars Petcare believes that pets make our lives better and that pet ownership brings joy and benefits which should be accessible to everyone. Mars Petcare has a number of leading brands including PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, DINE®, ADVANCE®, OPTIMUM®, SCHMACKOS® ROYAL CANIN®, EUKANUBA® IAMS®. Key specialty brands include the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition®, a leading scientific authority on pet nutrition and wellbeing.  Mars Petcare has more than 37,000 Associates worldwide.

 

The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition

The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition is a leading scientific authority in pet nutrition and wellbeing and has been advancing the frontiers of scientific research into the nutrition and health of pets for over 50 years. Located in Leicestershire, England, the renowned state-of-the-art science institute focuses on the nutritional and behavioural needs of pets and their benefits to humans, enabling the development of innovative products which meet these needs in a practical way. In collaboration with the world’s foremost scientific institutes, WALTHAM has pioneered many important breakthroughs in pet understanding and nutrition and leverages this knowledge through Mars Petcare brands to make a better world for pets.

 

References

  1. Mars Petcare Australia, 2015 Pet Positives Score Summary, November 2015
  2. Mars Petcare Australia, Pet Population and demographics: Australian Cats & Dogs. 2014.
  3. Cutt, HE, Knuiman, MW, Giles-Corti, B, 2008, ‘Does getting a dog increase recreational walking?’, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, vol. 5. pp. 17-27.
  4. McConnell, AR, Brown, CM, Shoda, TM, Stayton, LE, Martin, CE, 2011, ‘Friends with benefits: on the positive consequences of pet ownership’, Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, vol.101, no.6, pp.1239-1252
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Pet Population Score Infographic: Australia not very Pet Friendly

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