The 3 Biggest Highlights from Purina’s #BetterWithPets Summit

The event celebrated the evolving pet and owner bond and showcased the latest in pet care and wellness advancements

This week in Brooklyn, more than 100 lucky pet community experts and leaders came together at Purina’s #BetterWithPets Summit to explore how pets and people are living bigger and better lives thanks to new research and innovation that will shape the future of pet care. As a semi-obsessive dog owner myself, here are a few of my biggest takeaways:

“We’ve come so far in what we understand about the rich mental lives of dogs, and the role that nutrition plays in brain function,” said Dr. Brian Hare, Founder of Dognition and Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University.

Cutting-edge knowledge is bringing new innovations in pet nutrition.

One major announcement at #BetterWithPets was that, after a nine-year longevity study, Purina’s research team has developed a proprietary nutritional blend proven to improve and extend the lives of cats ages seven and older. (Watch for it in 2017!)

This comes on the heels of Purina Pro Plan Bright Minds, which supports brain health and healthy aging for older dogs. Around age seven, a dog’s brain begins to change, affecting memory, learning, awareness, and/or decision making. Purina’s new nutrition formula helps fuel the brain to keep senior dogs sharp. For both cats and dogs, new research is continually helping us improve quality of life. In fact, some findings even have applications across both pet and human health.

The Urban Resource Institute (URI) opened a new Purina Pet Haven in their Harlem domestic violence shelter on Oct. 12, 2016. From left: Shannon Carey, Vice President of Communications for URI; Dr. Kurt Venator, Purina Veterinarian, with “Case;” Nathaniel Fields, CEO of URI; and Virginia Nones, Purina Brand Manager.

Pets aren’t only helpful at home.

Those of us who benefit from pet-cuddling on the couch each night know what a difference it can make for our mood. But that isn’t the only places that pets can lift spirits.

Increasingly, the benefits of pet-love are being channeled for therapeutic outcomes in hospitals and shelters. At #BetterWithPets, Flip Becker from the St. Louis Children’s Hospital shared his experience with the Purina Family Pet Center, which allows patients to bring their pets to the hospital for visits. Guests also heard from Nathaniel Fields, CEO of the Urban Resource Institute (URI), about helping survivors of domestic violence find a safe haven with their pets. Just this week, URI and Purina opened the third Purina Pet Haven pet park at a domestic violence shelter in Harlem.

To learn about more ways that we could channel benefits of the human-pet bond, Purina also announced it is teaming up with the Mayo Clinic on its study to measure the benefits of animal-assisted therapy as a way to reduce pain and depression in patients with fibromyalgia.

At #BetterWithPets, Purina honored Kevin Li, co-founder of PlayDate, a remote-controlled ball that enables users to play with their dogs or cats from any location, with the Emerging Growth Award.

We can engage with our pets in entirely new ways.

So many things about the way we live, from technology to how we work, are changing. It makes sense that the ways we interact with our pets are evolving too.

At #BetterWithPets, Purina honored key leaders and innovators in the pet industry who have made a difference in the lives of pets and their owners, including Kevin Li. Li, co-founder of PlayDate, a remote-controlled ball that enables users to play with their dogs or cats from any location, was presented with the Emerging Growth Award for his work in helping pets and their owners stay connected in an interactive, meaningful way.

Purina is also a leader in the movement for Pets at Work highlighting benefits for employees like reduced blood pressure, a decrease in loneliness, lower cholesterol levels, higher employee morale, increased productivity, and a boost in physical activity.

Read all about Purina’s #BetterWithPets and watch the event video here