Home Why Pets Matter


Ask a pet owner what they love about their pet and, chances are, they’ll mention the love and affection from their pet, the fun that pets add to a home, or the joy of having an exercise buddy. In fact, in its 2017-2018 survey of national pet owners, the American Pet Products Association found that over 80% of pet owners named companionship as a benefit of pet ownership and over 65% said their pets relieve stress or help them relax.

At Mars Petcare, we’re fortunate to have the expertise of the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, which collaborates with the world’s foremost scientific institutions in its study of the nutrition and wellbeing of pet and their benefits for people. WALTHAM has published over 600 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Below is a look at some of their amazing findings about the power of pets.

And, check out our Pets Matter videos to meet some real pets and see the impact they have.

The HUMAN-ANIMAL BOND is powerful

Helping kids develop: Growing up with a pet brings social, emotional and education benefits for children and teens.

Encouraging engagement for older adults: Older adults benefit so much from the companionship of a pet, one study suggests pet adoption “prescriptions” for older adults facing grief or isolation.

Building friendships, bridging gaps: Pet owners are significantly more likely to meet new people in their neighborhoods than non-pet owners.

“We envision a future in which fostering human-animal bonds is no longer seen as alternative care, but a standard of care.” – Sandra McCune, PhD, Scientific Leader, Human Animal Interaction at WALTHAM

Pets help people be HEALTHY and active

Giving older adults companionship and support: Evidence is building that for older adults, interacting with pets can increase health and exercise, and reduce depression, anxiety and loneliness.

Keeping us moving when we need it: Pregnant women who own dogs were about 50% more likely to get the recommended at least 30 minutes of activity per day than those without a dog.

Supporting heart health, reducing obesity and more: Pet owners report lower stress, more exercise and less depression. They tend to visit doctors less often and spend less on medication.

“Evidence continues to grow showing that pets have positive benefits on human health and community cohesion.” – Dr Nancy Gee, Human-Animal Interaction Research Manager at WALTHAM

They CONNECT people and help us socialize

Helping neighborhoods feel safe: People feel safer when walking with their dog and also perceived their neighborhoods to be more watchful.

Boosting morale and well-being at work: In pet-friendly workplaces, allowing pets helps reduce stress, increase morale and give people better work-life balance. Also, being in a pet-friendly workplace increases loyalty to an employer.

Offering kids a trusted confidant: Kids report stronger relationship with their pets than their siblings. The researchers speculated that’s because pets can’t understand or talk back, meaning they are not judgmental.