Blog posts for February 2015

 

BLOG POST: Love Your Pet Day: Celebrating our furry and feathered friends

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by Kersti Seksel, 
BVSc (Hons) MRCVS MA (Hons) FACVSc DACVB DECAWBM
Registered Veterinary Specialist, Behavioural Medicine



 

They stand by our side when we find ourselves angry, offer a shoulder (or a furry paw) when we’re stressed  after an especially hard day at work, and they share in our joy when we’re exuberantly happy. From the second we open our eyes in the morning to the moment we turn the television off and head to bed in the evening, our pets shower us with unconditional, unrelenting love all day, everyday – 365 days a year.

In fact, not only do our pets provide us with support and encouragement, but an abundance of research into human-animal interaction has shown that pets provide their human owners with incredible health benefits. Pet owners are said to live happier and healthier lives then their non- pet owning counterparts.

Especially within recent years, the positive relationship between human health and pet ownership has been observed in a number of health-related disciplines including exercise, mental health and physical health. While dog ownership is said to encourage over two hours of extra physical activity every week (1), pet ownership in general has been suggested to improve patient survival after a heart attack (2), help reduce stress and reduce overall blood pressure (3).  Research out of the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, a centre funded by Mars Petcare, suggests that pets help us retain health and mobility into old age and that a pet’s presence can help us to engage with new people and helps to strengthen communities. (4)

Love Your Pet Day, celebrated right across the globe, falls on February 20 2015 and offers pet owners an opportunity to recognise the immeasurable benefits and love that our furry or feathered partners provide us with every day. Whether it’s an extra long walk or a cheeky bacon treat, Love Your Pet Day encourages pet owners and pet lovers worldwide to pay special attention to their pet companions;  to try and give back even a fraction of the unconditional love -that they show us on a daily basis.

Australia has a reputation as one of the most pet-friendly countries in the world. Over 50 per cent of the country’s residents own a pet of some kind. However, as external factors start to influence living and work life, it is more important then ever for Australia and Australians to remain pet-friendly and therefore allow current and future pet owners to continue enjoying the many advantages of having a companion animal in their lives. 

It comes as no surprise that pet ownership is quite the commitment. Pets need consistent attention and a positive environment in order to flourish and live as happily and healthily as possible. Australian citizens are becoming busier, working longer hours and have less time to spend at home. Major metropolitan cities are becoming increasingly vertical; apartment and condo living is consistently on the rise, thus limiting the space that people and their pets have to roam.

Love Your Pet Day not only presents pet owners with a chance to show their furry friend some extra love, but encourages Australia to consider its ‘pet policies’ and ensure that it maintains its status as a leading pet-friendly country.

A pet-friendly country supports and allows more pet owners to benefit from the incredible health benefits that pets provide. As research into this subject continues, and as more comparisons and analytics continue to be divulged, animal companionship remains an effective tool for coping with the ups and downs of everyday life.

This Love Your Pet Day, reflect on how your special friend has improved your own life. Perhaps they help you get outside after a long workday or perhaps they offer emotional support during tough times. One thing remains indisputable; our pets deserve the same love and attention that they show us.. So as you celebrate Love Your Pet Day this year with an extra treat or a committed hour of playtime, consider how you can make it ‘Love Your Pet Day’ for your pet each and everyday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dr Kersti Seksel is a registered Veterinary Specialist in Behavioural Medicine. She works in Seaforth, NSW and she has learnt a lot from her two special needs dogs, Indi and Tina.

References

  1. Christian et al., (2012) Understanding the relationship between dog ownership and children's physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Pediatric Obesity. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00113. (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. McCune et al (2014) Evolution of Research into the mutual benefits of human-animal interaction. Animal Frontiers. Volume 4, Number 3, December 2014, p 49-58. (available here).

 

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AUSTRALIAN SCIENTISTS SHOW PET LOVERS ARE HAPPIER AND HEALTHIER

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Love Your Pet Day (20th February) celebrates mutual benefits of pet ownership But experts worry pet numbers will decline if regulations continue to tighten.

Sydney, Australia –Whether it’s a dog or cat, fish or bird, owning a pet has been shown to give health benefits to their human owners, according to Australian pet experts on Love Your Pet Day this 20th February. 

Love Your Pet Day is observed worldwide and reminds pet owners to focus some special attention on their non-human partners. Pet owners are encouraged to thank their little friends and treat them to something special, such as their favorite food, an extra walk in the park, a visit to the office, or even a pet massage and fur trim. Research shows that Aussies who love their pet are likely to be repaid with a happier and healthier life.

The latest research into human-animal interaction shows that pet ownership might improve patient survival after a heart attack1, help with stress and reduce blood pressure2. Dog ownership has also been shown to encourage over two hours of extra physical activity every week3. There is even scientific evidence of the positive psychological benefits of pet ownership4. Overall, a wealth of research shows how pets can improve the physical and emotional health of children and adults of all ages.

Australian universities, in partnership with the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition and Mars Petcare, have for decades conducted globally recognised research into the positive benefits of pet ownership.

Dr Kersti Seksel, veterinary specialist at the Sydney Animal Behaviour Service, said: “Pet owners often mention the care and affection they give their pets and the sense of wellbeing they receive from having pets in their lives. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that can help humans stay physically and emotionally healthy from childhood well into old age.”

Experts are concerned that changes in society such as more people renting homes and restrictions on walking dogs in public areas may reduce the number of pets in Australia.

Dr Kersti Seksel explained, “Pets need attention and the right environment to have a happy life. As we become busier and live in more built-up areas with restrictions on where pets can live and go, the number of pets in Australia may fall. As a country, Australia needs to remain pet friendly so current and future pet owners can experience the many advantages of having a companion animal in their lives.”

For those who don’t have pets, Love Your Pet Day is the perfect time to consider owning a pet, either by adopting from a rescue organisation or buying from a reputable animal breeder.

The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, owned by Mars, has been a leading scientific authority on pet nutrition and wellbeing for fifty years. In 2013 alone, Waltham published 39 peer reviewed scientific papers. One revealed that structured interaction with dogs can help people with dementia.

More information and interview requests contact:

 

Ben Seal                                           Ishtar Schneider
Palin Communications                      Palin Communications
0402 386 392                                  0422 944 023
ben@palin.com.au                           ishtar@palin.com.au

 

References

  1. Levine et al., (2013) Pet ownership and cardiovascular risk: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation 127:2353–2363 (available here)
  2. 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)
  3. Christian et al., (2012) Understanding the relationship between dog ownership and children's physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Pediatric Obesity. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2012.00113. (available here)
  4. O’Haire, M. (2010) Companion animals and human health: Benefits, challenges, and the road ahead. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 5(5), 226-234. (link)

 

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®, ADVANCED®, 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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