Monday, November 16, 2015

Tips for Reducing Stress Together With Pets #BetterWithPets

This post and my attendance at Better With Pets were sponsored by Purina. As always, all opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

Last week we shared an overview of our experience at the third-annual Purina Better With Pets Summit, and today we're looking at some of the interesting and fun facts we learned about in the series of interactive exhibits.

The theme of the summit, hosted by NestlĂ© Purina, was all about the emotional wellness of pets and the people who love them. The afternoon activities featured a series of interactive exhibits, including a dog play lab, and areas with lots of great information about the benefits of play, good nutrition, healthy environments and cognition -- all that help enhance and add insight into improving emotional wellness for pets and people too.

There were plenty of pups with sweet smiling faces at the conference, willing to receive a playful pat!  Studies show that interacting with dogs can have a positive impact on stress levels even when you have no previous relationship

For example, did you know that just 15 minutes of quality time with your pet can have a positive impact on your pet's stress level and on yours too?

Research has shown that dogs enjoy increased levels of chemicals that indicate relaxation and happiness, including oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin when they are being pet and played with.

Purina suggests using the methods below to increase the surge of beneficial hormones in your dog
  1. Use a curved hand to rub the entire length of your dog
  2. "Baby talk" with your dog when looking him or her in the eyes (it's nice to know I'm not just being silly when I do this!)
  3. Use the pads on your thumbs to rub around the dogs eyes, nose and down the spine (making sure to use your fingertips and not fingernails)

Doggie Play Lab 

I couldn't resist the Play Lab area featuring a mini agility course and this nifty activity tracker (above) which tracked how play and challenges increased the activity levels of both dogs and humans.  Agility is a great way to engage with your pup and build your own special bond. We love it!

Dogs and humans had a great time in the Play Lab. I wished Rocco was with me for this part of the event, but I found a stand in. (Don't tell Rocco!)

This little nugget was happy to stand in and play some agility with me! 

As both a competitor and an instructor in dog agility, I find it's an awesome activity for all kinds of dogs. Whether you have dreams of competing or just want a fun activity to get you and your dog out of the house, agility has so many benefits to impact the emotional and physical wellness of dogs and their people, too!

More Fun Facts and ideas from Better With Pets

After spending some time playing with pups, I toured the rest of the exhibits. Here's a quick look at some fun facts I learned.

Dogs as Athletes

Did you know there is good stress? Beneficial stress, otherwise known as eustress, helps your dog thrive.  Regular exercise is an ideal way to deliver this natural, positive stimulation.

A Dog's Nose Knows

The area of the canine brain devoted to analyzing scent is 40 times than that of a human. With 220 million olfactory receptors in the nose, compared to only 5 million in a human, it is no surprise that dogs learn about their world primarily through their nose. 

Create a living space with your dog in mind

Architect Naito Hiroshi designed a special space for his Spitz to fit his dog's special needs. Because this breed does not like heat, Hiroshi designed a bed that had the ability to cool down. Consider your pet's preferences when it comes to temperature, sight lines, stimulation and accessibility to help improve their level of happiness.

After a full day of listening to and interacting with some of the brightest minds in the pet science and culture, my head was spinning with great ideas to take home to Rocco.  Thank you Purina for putting on another spectacular Better With Pets Summit!

It was terrific to see and mingle with an amazing group of old pals too!

What makes your life better with pets?
We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 


  1. If mom gives us lots of attention and walks we are good to go
    Lily & Edward

    1. Rocco loves attention and walks, too! He's right there with you!

  2. Life is so much better with pets. All the snuggles close make it the best.

  3. I know that you had a wonderful time at the summit! It looked like so much fun. What a cool play area to enjoy.