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Keep up-to-date with the latest news and views on positive pet ownership and the many ways animals of all types are helping people across Australia. 

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Blog posts for July 2015


Stress reduced by a kitten's purr or dog’s wagging tale says research

Pet owners urged to support Stress Down Day (Friday 24th July)


Pet owners across Australia are being urged to support Lifeline’s Stress Down Day and encourage others to consider pet ownership as research suggests animals of all kinds can have a calming and stress-reducing effect.

Pet owners across Australia are being urged to support Lifeline’s Stress Down Day and encourage others to consider pet ownership as research suggests animals of all kinds can have a calming and stress-reducing effect.

 Stress Down Day – celebrated on Friday 24th July –  is a fun and easy way to reduce stress and raise vital funds for Lifeline. A Newspoll survey conducted for Lifeline found that 90% of Australians need to stress less, with 74% of people feeling stressed because of work.1If stress lasts a long time or overwhelms a person it can negatively impact their health, wellbeing, relationships, work and general enjoyment of life.2

 In finding ways to reduce stress in humans, pet experts at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition believe contact with companion animals, such as cats and dogs, is one possible solution. A number of recent studies suggest pets can help reduce stress at work and home.

 A landmark study3 discovered that pets in the workplace can result in significant reductions in employee stress levels. Not only this, but offices who welcomed four-legged companions cited an increase in productivity and heightened company morale.3 A separate study found that pet owners had greater self esteem, undertook more exercise, fared better on measures of wellbeing and were better able to cope with social rejection than non-pet owners.4 Pet ownership has also been shown to act as a buffer from stressful situations and events, especially in old age.5

 Dr Sandra McCune, Scientific Leader on Human-Animal Interaction at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, said: "For people who like pets, it’s virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when a cat rubs against your hand or if a dog wants to play. This human-animal interaction provides a range of physical and emotional benefits, which is emerging as a significant source of support and wellbeing for people of all ages.”

 Mars Petcare is one of the many companies taking part in this year's Stress Down Day. Employees at the company’s headquarters in Wodonga will bring their pets into work and fundraise for Lifeline's important services.

 Paul Matuschka, one of the Mars Petcare fundraisers, said: “We have a really positive work culture that’s in part thanks to having pets in the office most days. Pets make us happy, which is why we thought Stress Down Day would be a great initiative for us to support.”

 Research into the stress-reducing effects of pets dates back to the 1980s. One of the first studies found stroking a pet can be an antidote to stress; with researchers finding that people talking to and petting a dog have lower blood pressure than when they interact with another person.6

 The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, owned by Mars, has been a leading scientific authority on pet nutrition and wellbeing for fifty years. In 2014 alone, WALTHAM published 46 peer reviewed scientific papers.




More information and interview requests contact:

Ishtar Schneider                                              Sonya Friesen

Palin Communications                                    Palin Communications

02 9412 2255 / 0422 944 023                         02 9412 2255 / 0423 495 392  

ishtar@palin.com.au                                       sonya@palin.com.au


Ben Seal
Palin Communications
02 9412 2255 / 0402 386 392


To contact the Lifeline media team please call: 0408 407 376


  1. Newspoll survey for Lifeline. Campaign statistics 2015. Available:  http://stressdown2015.gofundraise.com.au/
  2. Lifeline Factsheet: Coping with Stress. Available: file:///C:/Users/ben/Downloads/Coping%20with%20Stress%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
  3. Randolph T. Barker, Janet S. Knisely, Sandra B. Barker, Rachel K. Cobb, Christine M. Schubert. Preliminary investigation of employee's dog presence on stress and organizational perceptions. International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 2012; 5 (1): 15 DOI: 10.1108/17538351211215366
  4. McConnell, AR, Brown, CM, Shoda, TM, Stayton, LE, Martin, CE, 2011, ‘Friends with benefits: on the positive consequences of pet ownership’, Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, vol.101, no.6, pp.1239-1252
  5. Anderson KA et al (2015) Fostering the Human-Animal Bond for Older Adults: Challenges and Opportunities. Activities Adaption and Aging, 39: 32-42, 2015
  6. Vormbrock, JK, & Grossberg, JM, 1988, ’Cardiovascular effects of human-pet dog interactions’, Journal of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 509-517

Notes to Editors:

Mars Petcare Australia

Mars Petcare is the world’s leading pet food and veterinary care business that strives to make A Better World for Pets® every day. Mars Petcare believes that pets make our lives better and that pet ownership brings joy and benefits which should be accessible to everyone. Mars Petcare has a number of leading brands including PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, DINE®, ADVANCE®, OPTIMUM®, SCHMACKOS® ROYAL CANIN®, EUKANUBA® IAMS®. Key specialty brands include the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition®, a leading scientific authority on pet nutrition and wellbeing.  Mars Petcare has more than 37,000 Associates worldwide.


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The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition

The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition is a leading scientific authority in pet nutrition and wellbeing and has been advancing the frontiers of scientific research into the nutrition and health of pets for over 50 years. Located in Leicestershire, England, the renowned state-of-the-art science institute focuses on the nutritional and behavioural needs of pets and their benefits to humans, enabling the development of innovative products which meet these needs in a practical way. In collaboration with the world’s foremost scientific institutes, WALTHAM has pioneered many important breakthroughs in pet understanding and nutrition and leverages this knowledge through Mars Petcare brands to make a better world for pets.

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