The joys of pet parenting have long been recognised. Just ask any one of the millions of pet owners around the world. Chances are, you’ll hear nothing short of praises and love for their “fur babies”. Most pet owners are familiar with the clear and profound joys of sharing their lives and homes with their beloved companions. However, the benefits of having a pet go much deeper – more than many pet owners may realise.
Snuggling up with a furry friend actually brings about heaps of physical and mental health benefits. And recently, various studies have begun to scientifically explore the physiological benefits of the human-animal bond. In fact, many organisations have even dedicated themselves to this quest.
Direct and indirect physiological benefits
For instance, a survey by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) showed that 74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership. This is because pets – dogs and cats especially – have the profound ability to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while easing loneliness and encouraging exercise and playfulness. The benefits extend to people of all ages. Being around a pet can help children grow up more secure and active, while just about anyone can benefit from the heart-warming companionship that pets provide. Most importantly, however, a pet can add real joy and unconditional love to anyone’s life, regardless of age.
Besides all these more apparent benefits, owning a pet boosts our physical and mental health in so many other ways. Having a pet, for instance, can increase physical exercise (taking a dog for a walk, or playing with a cat, for instance). Pets can also add structure and routine to their owners’ day, as many require regular feeding and care. But most of all, any pet owner will agree that pets – just by their very nature – have that certain je ne sais quoi about them, with the innate ability to melt hearts or turn a bad day into a great one, all with one loving gaze or a warm cuddle. It is no surprise then that many pet owners consider their pets members of their own family!
Interestingly enough, the HABRI survey also found that 80% of pet owners who were aware of the health benefits of pet ownership reported spending most of the day, or a big part of it, with their pets. This suggests a direct correlation with the amount of time spent with our pets, to the marked improvement of our physical and mental health.
It should come as no surprise then that a recent partnership between Royal Canin – a leading brand in health nutrition for cats and dogs; and PetFinder.my – a digital web portal dedicated to finding homes for stray, abandoned and rescued dogs and cats; marked a significant increase in pet adoption following the recent iterations of the various movement controls over the past year, as more people were confined to their homes.
A partnership that makes a difference for animals – and humans!
Since the partnership began in June 2020 – a time when most Malaysians were beginning to be increasingly confined to their homes with the various iterations of movement restrictions – Royal Canin and PetFinder.my have found loving “forever homes” for more than 1,300 pets. The positive response to the partnership has inspired the two entities to augment their collaboration even further this year through a number of initiatives to improve efficacy and promote a higher level of quality care for adopted pets, while continuing to re-home cats and dogs from rescuers and shelters.
“While this partnership seeks to find homes for pets, we also want to showcase really how rewarding the experience of pet ownership can be, not only for pets but their owners. So, in many ways, this collaboration will not only ‘reward’ pet adopters, but also provide them with the necessary support and guidance required towards a mutually-rewarding relationship between both for pet and parent,” said Francois-Regis Poncon, General Manager at Royal Canin Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Royal Canin is also leveraging on its position as an advocate for the welfare and wellbeing of pets by improving its dedicated “You Must Know” section on PetFinder.my containing vital information on the rescue of strays, as well as crucial care guidelines for caring for dogs and cats. The quarterly updated section also features “Jom Talk Pets!”, a podcast series specially created by Royal Canin, to further guide adopters through their journey into “pet parenthood”. These efforts, will be further boosted by periodic events and webinars for adopters and pet owners organised by Royal Canin to provide essential care tips further drive home the importance of responsible pet care and ownership.
A tough but rewarding journey
Andy Koh, Founder of PetFinder.my admits that though finding many loving homes for homeless pets, the road ahead remains long, with its fair share of challenges.
“There are many kind-hearted people out there who do so much for these ‘future pets’. However, the struggle lies in effectively seeking suitable adopters. We have found that while there are many people who are willing to adopt pets, they have significant hesitations, such as costs, time or resources. Meanwhile, reaching out to a wide audience on the plight of these animals also poses a challenge. Hence, this partnership with Royal Canin seeks to address these concerns while providing better communication, at the same time educating and encouraging the public to adopt these truly loveable creatures who just want equally loving homes,” he says, with much hope.
He adds that those who are even remotely considering adopting a pet should seriously weigh their options. While it takes a fair level of responsibility, resources and time, the rewards far outweigh the efforts, not only for the pets, but for their owners – not the least being a marked improvement in their physiological health and well-being.
Royal Canin recently launched an app where all pet owners can obtain handy tips and get rewarded. Find out more here.