The Pet Alliance Europe booklet on #PetPower is a brief compilation of the human-animal bond research carried out by European scientists. In it we introduce our concept of #PetPower, explaining what it means and highlighting some of the benefits that interactions between pets and people create for individuals and society at large.
Scientific research highlights the benefits of the human-animal bond, and findings to date confirm the significant social and societal potential that this bond offers. One aspect that #PetPower affects positively is physical health. Research has shown that pet ownership can lead to higher activity levels, reduction of feelings of depression in cancer patients, lower risk of heart attack recurrence and much more. Furthermore, our mental health can also draw benefits from having a pet in our home, as studies reveal that companion animals can alleviate loneliness, provide calming support, boost self-esteem and connect people who feel socially isolated. Child development is also positively affected. Interactions with pets can help facilitate language acquisition and potentially enhance verbal skills in children. Finally, #PetPower can play a role in healthy ageing. Studies highlight that an animal presence can reduce behavioural disturbances in people with dementia and stimulate increased rates of social contact amongst older adults.
Given this wide range of benefits, Pet Alliance Europe believes that investigating the benefits of the human-animal bond would be an important focus area for Horizon Europe research funding projects.