People keep animals for companionship and pleasure (hence the term, “companion animals”). They are often referred to as “pets”. Companion animals can also include horses in some countries.

According to Vetnosis, there are 223 million dogs and 220 million cats worldwide, excluding stray animals. They provide emotional support to their owners, reduce feelings of stress and loneliness and increase social contact. They truly become “a member of the family”, sharing our lives and often our homes.

We have the responsibility to ensure that, as pet owners, we do all we can for the health and good of the animals in our care while not forgetting that despite the success of preventative measures, pets do get sick and may require treatment. Pets need medicines, just like we do. Preventing and curing disease in companion animals also means protecting people’s health because there are many pet diseases that can be transferred to humans (Emerging diseases and zoonoses).

Vaccination helps to prevent serious infections such as rabies, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirosis in dogs; panleucopenia, chlamydiosis, cat flu, feline leukaemia in cats or myxomatosis and haemorragic enteritis in rabbits, for example. Other conditions can be improved or cured through the use of veterinary medicines: heart diseases, cancer, kidney insufficiency, pain or infections. Approximately 41% of all animal health products globally are used in companion animals, according to latest data. (Source: Vetnosis)

Veterinarians are essential partners in ensuring optimal health conditions for pets. They advise owners on a wide range of topics such as infectious diseases and conditions, or routine healthcare such as vaccination, worming, flea treatments, dental health and skincare.

Responsible pet owners give their pets quality healthcare, which allows them to lead comfortable and healthy lives. The animal health industry enables them to do this by making safe, innovative and quality products available.

Studies have shown that pets bring us many benefits as well: providing companionship, encouraging activity, creating a sense of responsibility of care for another being and helping to alleviate loneliness and even lowering blood pressure. Older people having pets are also reported to require fewer visits to the doctor. Therapy pets are reported as having positive effects on people’s quality of life in nursing homes, hospitals, and care centres for the disabled making them more sociable and encouraging interaction and activity.

Check out our interactive infographic celebrating the age-old union between man and dog and detailing the many valuable roles dogs perform in societies all around the world.

View the Human-Animal Bond infographic

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