AVMA: Summit explores the animal solution to social isolation

A group of public health, research, gerontology, and veterinary leaders gathered at the first Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Companion Animals Summit on May 7 in Washington, D.C., to discuss the role companion animals can play in curbing societal loneliness, which can be as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes per day, according to research.

Mars Petcare and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute sponsored the event that showcased research on the benefits of the human-animal bond against social isolation and loneliness.

“Scientific research shows that pets have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing,” said Steven Feldman, HABRI executive director, in a press release. “The insights from this research further highlight how the human-animal bond can play a role in helping to alleviate loneliness and social isolation.”

Nearly 80% of pet owners say their pet makes them feel less lonely, according to market research conducted by Edelman Intelligence for HABRI and Mars Petcare. About 26% of pet owners stated they got a pet because they knew it was good for their mental health.

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Photo Credit: Mars Petcare