AUSTRALIAN SCIENTISTS SHOW PET LOVERS ARE HAPPIER AND HEALTHIER
February 20, 2015
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:
- Levine et al., (2013) Pet ownership and cardiovascular risk: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation 127:2353–2363 (available here)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.