Pet owners have said their furry friends helped their sanity during the lockdown, new research shows.
A survey by the online dog and cat welfare business Paws Group (PAWS) found that 70% of dog and cat owners believe their pet helped their sanity during the lockdown.
The study also found that 70% believed their children would have benefited from a dog or cat while living under Covid-19 restrictions.
A survey by the online dog and cat wellbeing business, Paws Group (PAWS) found that 70% of dog and cat owners think their pet helped their mental health during the lockdown (pictured, Graham Coxell , Chairman of Paws).
Leading research consultancy Savanta ComRes conducted the research, interviewing 2,098 adults in the UK and finding that 1,227 had a dog or a cat (or both).
From these surveys, 61% of owners went to their pet for comfort during the pandemic.
A staggering 67% of those who were married or lived with a partner even concluded that their pet is just as important to their “well-being” as their loved one.
The survey follows a surge in dog and puppy demand as people have tried looking for dog comfort while being forced to stay at home.
Almost half of owners, 49%, even agreed that it was easier for them to talk to their dog or cat than to chat to a family member.
Calling the results “fascinating”, Graham Coxell explained “why so many individuals and families banned from lockdown have become pet parents for the first time” (pictured with dog Iris).
The survey also found that nearly half of owners, 47%, fear that their dog or cat may experience separation anxiety after the lockdown ends completely.
Over a third of owners, 38%, agreed that they would like the opportunity to bring their dog or cat to work in the future.
Graham Coxell, Chairman of Paws Holdings Ltd, said, ‘These results are fascinating and explain why so many individuals and families banned from lockdown have become pet parents for the first time.
‘The research also shows how the bond between owner and pet has been strengthened by the unprecedented changes in our lives caused by the pandemic.
Going forward, it will be our responsibility as an industry to help pet parents ensure that the love and wellbeing of their pets takes priority once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Daily life after lockdown needs to work for both pets and their owners. ‘
Dr. Jo Maddocks, psychologist and leading expert on emotional intelligence, said the survey highlighted families “need to feel love unconditionally” and “pets can”.
The survey also found that nearly half of owners, 47%, fear that their dog or cat may experience separation anxiety after the lockdown ends completely
They added, “Feeling accepted and connected to a pet feels good with hormones like oxytocin, which change our emotional state and make us feel alive, belonging, and valued.
‘This has many positive effects and the momentum is mutual. Mental health is as much about self-care as it is about caring for others.
“When we turn our attention outward, away from ourselves and back, we feel valuable as human beings and build our self-esteem.
“This can be accomplished through many activities, such as helping others, gardening, community work, and, as this survey shows, caring for a pet.”
Dr. Lauren Chong, Veterinary Specialist at Paws Holdings Ltd said, “With the increase in new puppies and kittens in 2020 and the fact that our daily routines have been turned upside down, many pets will now need our assistance as we spend more time away from home.
“Many veterinarians and behavioral researchers are already seeing an increase in the challenges associated with limited training and socialization opportunities.
“Separation anxiety aside, young pets can experience new people, places, and sounds for the first time, which can be very overwhelming.
She added that it was “comforting” “47 percent of respondents said they were afraid of separating their pets”.