Fabrice Mathieu

The Benefits of Pets on Humans

By Fabrice Mathieu, Royal Canin Foundation Administrator

What are some of the main benefits of having a pet at home?Having an animal at home is considered beneficial on many levels – for the pet, the owner, and the community at large. And these benefits can increasingly be supported by robust scientific evidence. Recent studies have shown evidence-based health benefits of pets. Their power has been seen to influence physical and mental health, child development, and social integration. Studies have demonstrated that children who form strong bonds with a pet are more empathic and have stronger pro-social orientations than children who do not own pets. In addition, pet ownership has been shown to decrease stress, and children who grow up with a pet are generally less prone to health issues including respiratory and ear infections. Pets are also known to help a child’s development and increase their activity level. Children are the main group benefiting from this interaction, then? Fortunately, no. Comparing new pet owners to non-owners, those who acquired a pet experienced a highly significant reduction in minor health problems during the first month of pet ownership, and these benefits were sustained over time for dog owners. The results of one study looking at survival rates in dog owners post (serious) heart attacks showed that 94% of heart patients with pets survive heart attacks, compared to 72% without pets . Results were compelling enough for the American Heart Association to state support of the role that pet ownership – particularly dogs - can play in reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. What is beyond the physical benefits? How can they support human social life? All Royal Canin’s Associates around the world can nominate projects on an annual basis. We are over 8,000 Associates, operating in more than 100 markets. We know that great projects are being carried out in all these regions, and that’s why our Associates can suggest initiatives that fit within the organization’s purpose. After that, they are evaluated by the Royal Canin Foundation Board. We aim to have the power of collective intelligence contributing to this project. As CEO of the Royal Canin company, what is the legacy you want to leave through the Royal Canin Foundation? I have always admired the positive impact that pets can bring to our lives. Through an independent organization like the Royal Canin Foundation, we want more and more people to feel the powerful outcomes that cats and dogs can have on human health and welfare. Their role in society can and should be even more recognized, and I am honored to see this happening with the support of our more than 8,000 Associates globally.