March 14, 2017

Zoetis has long been dedicated to protecting the human-animal bond, and now it is introducing a new campaign to promote a growing body of research that shows how important that bond is to human health. The Pet Effect campaign aims to raise awareness about how pets make people healthier and how, by extension, veterinary professionals are key contributors to human health and to public health. Zoetis has partnered with the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) to publicize this research.

“We’ve learned that people actually feel better, are physically more healthy, and human well-being is enhanced because of a healthy relationship with a pet,” said Dr. J. Michael McFarland, group director, companion animal marketing at Zoetis. “We hope that The Pet Effect campaign will help veterinarians explain this bond and the health benefits it provides to pet owners.”

The numerous health benefits of pet ownership include lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease, stress reduction and decreased rates of anxiety and depression. Research also shows that being exposed to pets can help prevent allergies in children and build immunity. Human health professionals are recognizing these benefits. A recent poll of family doctors and general practitioners found that 97 percent believed there are health benefits to having a pet and the majority had recommended a pet to a patient. HABRI maintains a growing database of research like this that supports the importance of the human-animal bond. The following statistics were listed on The Pet Effect’s site:

  • People who have never owned a cat have a 40 percent higher relative risk of death from a heart attack.
  • When animals help with patient therapy or treatment, doctors report:
    • 88 percent of patients have a moderately to significantly better physical condition
    • 97 percent of patients have a moderately to significantly better mental health condition
    • 98 percent of patients have a moderately to significantly better mood or outlook

A recent survey of pet owners administered by HABRI found evidence that veterinarians are incredibly important to the human-animal bond. Results showed that pet owners trust their veterinarian and that 61 percent of pet owners would be more likely to visit their veterinarian if they discussed the human health benefits of the human-animal bond.

Zoetis wants to help veterinarians have this important “The Pet Effect” conversation with pet owners. The campaign features humorous videos, smart social media posts and other assets that veterinarians can share with their clients to explain the health benefits of the human-animal bond. The results of having The Pet Effect conversation can help both the veterinarian and the pet owner. Also, when pet owners understand that their pet’s health may be linked to their own, it may encourage them to bring their pets to the veterinarian for more regular check-ups.

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