People get to know each other more often through pets than through children’s schools according to a new study
Mumbai, May 8, 2015 - While making friends is not always easy, new research shows that pet ownership can improve the likelihood of forming new relationships, especially in your neighbourhood. The international study, conducted by The University of Western Australia (Australia) in collaboration with the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition (UK) underscores the important role pets can play in helping humans build social relationships and support networks.
Overall, the study found that pet owners are significantly more likely to meet new people in their neighbourhoods than non-pet owners. Around a quarter of those who met people through their pet said that this resulted in at least one new friendship rather than a mere acquaintance. Dog owners fare even better as they are five times more likely to get to know people in their neighbourhoods compared with other pet owners, with dog walking being one of the top five ways for people to meet new people. The study surveyed residents in three US and one Australian city and found many similarities when it comes to pets. For instance, in all four cities people got to know others in their neighbourhoods through pets more often than through children’s schools or community events.
“We’re all guilty of being a little too fixated on our screen based devices these days, whether we’re walking and talking on the phone, texting or sending e-mails. Pets, and specifically dog walking, bring us out of the technology bubble and create opportunities for the kind of real interpersonal interactions that can lead to deep, human friendships,” said lead study author Associate Professor Lisa Wood from The University of Western Australia.
Dr. K G Umesh, WALTHAM Scientific Communication Manager, Mars India also opines that, “It is very much true for India considering current lifestyle and Nuclear families. It is well noted that pets act as “social lubricants” and one of the studies stated that the company of a dog has been shown to facilitate walkers’ conversations with stranger greatly. People are more likely to approach, smile at, talk to person with a dog and Pet owners are perceived in more positive ways.”
The study involved a telephone based survey of over 2500 randomly selected adults aged 18 and over +from four cities, including: Perth (Australia); San Diego, CA; Portland, OR; and, Nashville, TN (US).
The study was featured in the April 2015 edition of the peer-reviewed scientific publication, PLOS ONE www.plosone.org. The full article can be read here.
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About the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition:
Celebrating over 50 years of innovative science, the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition serves as a leading scientific authority in advancing the frontiers of research into the nutrition and health of companion animals. Located in Leicestershire, England, the renowned state-of-the-art science institute for Mars, Incorporated generates knowledge that enables the development of innovative products that meet pets’ needs in a practical way. Since the publication of its first original research in 1963, WALTHAM® has pioneered many important breakthroughs in the field of pet nutrition and human-animal interaction, resulting in more than 1,700 publications, including over 600 peer-review scientific papers. Today, WALTHAM® continues to collaborate with the world’s foremost scientific institutes, driving Mars' Petcare vision to create a better world for pets and providing the science and expertise that underpins leading Mars brands such as WHISKAS®, PEDIGREE®, NUTRO®, IAMS®, EUKANUBA, NATURA, TRILL®, CESAR®, SHEBA®, KITEKAT®, DREAMIES™, AQUARIAN®, WINERGY®, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital and ROYAL CANIN.
About Mars, Incorporated
In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars’first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s,Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the objective of creating a “mutuality of benefits for all stakeholders” – this objective serves as the foundation of Mars, Incorporated today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and more than 72,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.
Mars brands include: Petcare – PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, IAMS®, KITEKAT®, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital, NUTRO®, SHEBA®, DREAMIES®, CESAR®, EUKANUBA and NATURA; Chocolate – M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Wrigley – DOUBLEMINT®, EXTRA®, ORBIT® and 5™ chewing gums, SKITTLES® and STARBURST® candies, and ALTOIDS® AND LIFESAVERS® mints. Food –UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS®, SEEDS OF CHANGE® and ROYCO®; Drinks – ALTERRA ® Coffee Roasterscoffee, THE BRIGHT TEA CO.® tea,DOVE®/GALAXY® Hot Chocolate, and FLAVIA® brewer; Symbioscience – COCOAVIA®, WISDOM PANEL® and SERAMIS®.