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Mars Petcare Teams Up With YMCA To Promote “Power of Pets”

The health benefits of pet ownership are highlighted by a new program that partners Mars Petcare and the YMCA.

By The SmallAnimalChannel News Division
Posted: October 6, 2010, 3:15 p.m. EDT

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Mars Petcare and the YMCA want to get the message out that pets of all types can help improve people's health.

Mars Petcare, a Nashville, Tennessee-based pet food manufacturer, launched a new program on September 29, 2010, that aims to highlight the health benefits of pet ownership.

As part of The Power of Pets program, Mars Petcare plans to bring pet-friendly health and physical activity education and programming to YMCAs across the United States. Initial roll out is slated for YMCA locations in Chicago; Nashville, Tennessee; New York City, Portland, Oregon; and Washington, D.C.

 “Mars Petcare, through its world-renowned Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, has long been a leader in researching the meaningful physical, psychological and social benefits that pets bring to individuals and communities,” said Debra Fair, vice president of corporate affairs for Mars Petcare US. “The Power of Pets program is the perfect way for us to share this research and really bring these benefits to life.”

Ted Cornelius, executive director of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee’s State Alliance/Pioneering Healthier Communities program, said the nonprofit organization believes that healthy lifestyles are about nurturing the spirit, mind and body.

“And pets certainly play a role in that,” Cornelius said. “We encourage families to play together every day, and incorporating the family pet is a great way to make everyone more active.”

It appears that pets do have the power to motivate their owners to be more active -- at least according to a recent survey conducted by Mars Petcare. The survey found that more than half of the 1,000 U.S. pet owners polled would prefer to exercise with their pet instead of exercising alone. Thirty-nine percent of the respondents said making sure their pets is more active has made them more active as well.

Mars Petcare plans to sponsor family-focused healthy living fairs for pets and people at the following locations:

• New York City: The YMCA of Prospect Park, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010
• Chicago: The Hastings Lake YMCA, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010
• Washington, D.C.: The YMCA of Silver Spring, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2010
• Nashville, Tennessee: The Brentwood YMCA, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010
• Portland, Oregon: spring 2011

Additional ongoing activities, such as community dog walking programs, are expected to debut in specific markets in the coming months.

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