People keep pets for companionship, recreation and protection rather than for the specific purpose of enhancing health. However, a considerable body of literature supports the idea that companion animals can improve overall quality of life, including physical, social and psychological health, yet there has been no discussion of practical ways to integrate companion animals into health care and promotion. A rapid review of the literature was conducted in relation to pets/companion animals and health. Primary information sources included articles located in major citation databases (e.g. PubMed and Scopus). A snowballing technique was used to identify additional studies in bibliographies of relevant papers.