Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How Pets and People Can Live Bigger, Better Lives Together #LetsLiveBig

At Purina's Better With Pets Summit we learned about the advantages of pet therapy and got a first-hand look at how pets impact our emotional well-being. Here, attendees play with adoptable pets from North Shore Animal League.

My trip to the Purina Better with Pets Summit was sponsored by Purina. As always, I only post about topics I believe in and that I think will be of interest to you. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
Last week I headed to NYC for the 4th Purina Better with Pets Summit, hosted by NestlĂ© Purina. This year's topic explored how pets and people are living bigger, better and healthier lives together, and we learned about some cool new research projects and innovations from Purina to help both people and pets live better together. 

Between the three panel discussions, exhibits and interactive activity -- there was so much to see and do! Read on to hear about some of the announcements and advancements we found most interesting.

Advancements in Pet Nutrition, Quality and Safety

In two panels the focus was on both quality and safety and innovations in nutrition for pets.

Quality and safety is important in everything we eat -- for both humans and pets. But if you think about it, it's amplified even more so with pet foods, since our pets don't have the varied diet like we humans do. That's why it's SO important to choose pet food that meet the highest quality standards.

And here's a case where bigger can be better. Big is good when you have the resources to back up your product. At Purina, their 500 scientists, veterinarians, nutritionists and food safety specialists are part of those resources that make it possible to ensure the highest standards of quality and safety as well as the ability to innovate and develop foods that can help keep our pets heathy for a long, long time.

This info was part of an interactive exhibit at the event. It's so important to keep your pets at a healthy weight!

Good nutrition can also aid in the longevity of our pets.

Thanks to a nine-year longevity study conducted by Purina, the company’s research team has developed a proprietary nutritional blend proven to improve and extend the lives of cats ages seven and older. Purina’s latest product innovation can be found in Purina Pro Plan Prime Plus™ and will be available starting in early 2017. 

Last year, Purina introduced Purina Pro Plan Bright Mind 7+ to support cognitive health in older dogs and for those who prefer a customized diet, Purina Just Right is formulated just for your dog based on his or her specific nutritional needs and delivered directly to your door. Those are just some of the advancements in nutrition we learned about at the summit.

I also had a chance to chat with one of the Purina veterinarians, Dr. Zara Boland, who explained that this longevity research led to Purina changing the feeding guidelines on its packaging to help keep pets at the correct weight. It's all part of the new normal for pets -- where bigger is NOT better! 

Dr. Boland at Purina Better With Pets Summit

I didn't realize I was chatting with a celeb at the time, but just today I discovered this great interview Dr. Boland conducted on Access Hollywood! Take a look at it here where she chats about how pets better our lives!

Innovation: Will there come a day when doctors will prescribe a cat or dog to promote healing?

One of my favorite topics at the summit was the panel: Why a Passion for Pets Builds a Better World.

The speakers in this panel shared some of the things they're doing that are helping improve the health and well-being of both pets and the people who love them.

Participants on the Why a Passion for Pets Builds a Better World panel, moderated by Dr. Kurt Venator (far right), director of veterinary strategy and programs at Purina
The panelists included: 
  • Flip Becker with St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which recently opened the Purina Family Pet Center to allow patients to bring their pets to the hospital for visits;
  • Nathaniel Fields, CEO of Urban Resource Institute, an organization that is committed to helping victims of domestic violence find a safe haven with their pets, and that on Oct. 12 opened the third Purina Pet Haven pet park at one of its New York-area shelters in Harlem; 
  • Dr. Brent Bauer, a Mayo Clinic researcher who discussed how pets can help the healing process for people; and
  • Joanne Yohannan with North Shore Animal League America, an NYC-based pet shelter which offers a wide range of adoption, foster care and collaborative pet lifesaving efforts.
One of the big announcements at the event was a new partnership with Purina and the Mayo Clinic. The two are teaming up on a study the clinic is leading to measure the benefits of animal assisted therapy as a way to reduce pain and depression while improving the quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia.

At the event, Mayo Clinic's Dr. Bauer explained how they currently have about 100 dogs already in Mayo Clinic's Caring Canine therapy dog program at their locations across the country and "when you bring a pet in, it tremendously impacts stress and wound healing."

"In a few years," says Dr. Bauer, "it may be just as important to fill a dog prescription as it is a drug prescription."

How cool is that?!  I love this type of research that sets out to prove scientifically that pets can help people live better and healthier lives.

And, these Purina partnerships are helping both pets and people, whether they are suffering from an illness, are a victim of domestic violence, or are shelter pets looking for their forever homes.

Want to know more about what we learned at the Purina Better with Pets Summit? Here's a nice video summary of the event, courtesy of Purina.

How do you live big with your pets? Let us know by sharing on social media using hashtag #LetsLiveBig... and tell us how pets allow you to live bigger lives together!


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