Paws for thought! Cat and dog owners say their furry friends have helped their mental health through lockdown
- Survey by PAWS revealed that 61 per cent of owners went to pet for ‘comfort’
- In the survey, 2,098 UK adults questioned and found that 1,227 had a dog or cat
- Found that 47 per cent fear pet might suffer separation anxiety after lockdown
Pet owners have said that their furry friends have helped their mental health during lockdown, new research has said.
A survey by online dog and cat wellbeing business Paws Group (PAWS) found that 70% of dog and cat owners believe that their pet helped their mental health during lockdown.
The study also revealed 70% believed their children had benefited from having a dog or cat while living under Covid-19 restrictions.
A survey by online dog and cat wellbeing business Paws Group (PAWS) found 70% of dog and cat owners believe that their pet helped their mental health during lockdown (pictured, Graham Coxell, Chairman of Paws)
Leading research consultancy company Savanta ComRes carried out the research and questioned 2,098 UK adults and found that 1,227 had a dog or cat (or both).
Of those survey, 61% of owners went to their pet for ‘comfort’ during the pandemic.
An incredible 67% who were married or living with a partner even concluded that their pet was just as important to their ‘well being’ as their loved one.
The survey follows a surge in demand for dogs and puppies as people have tried to seek out canine comfort while being forced to stay at home.
Nearly half of owners, 49%, even agreed with the statement that they found talking to their dog or cat easier than chatting to a family member.
Graham Coxell called the findings ‘fascinating’ and said it explained ‘why so many individuals and families over lockdown have become pet parents for the first time’ (pictured with dog Iris)
The survey also revealed that nearly half of owners, 47%, fear their dog or cat might suffer from separation anxiety after lockdown ends fully.
More than a third of owners, 38%, agreed that they would like the option of taking their dog or cat into work in the future.
Graham Coxell, Chairman of Paws Holdings Ltd, said: ‘These findings are fascinating and help explain why so many individuals and families over lockdown have become pet parents for the first time.
‘The research also shows the extent to which the bond between owner and pet has been strengthened by the unprecedent changes to our lives brought about by the pandemic.
‘Moving forward it is our responsibility as an industry to help pet parents ensure that the love and wellbeing of their pets is prioritised once lockdown restrictions are lifted. Post-lockdown daily life will need to work for pets, as well as their owners.’
Dr Jo Maddocks, a psychologist and leading expert in emotional intelligence, said the survey highlights families ‘need to feel love unconditionally’ and ‘pets can do this’.
The survey also revealed that nearly half of owners, 47%, fear their dog or cat might suffer from separation anxiety after lockdown ends fully
They added: ‘Feeling accepted and being connected to a pet charges feel good hormones like oxytocin which change our feeling state and deliver a sense of aliveness, belonging and esteem.
‘This has many positive knock-on effects and the dynamic becomes reciprocal. Psychological health is as much to do with self-care as it is to do with caring for others.
‘When we focus our attention outwardly, away from ourselves, and give back then it makes us feel worthwhile human beings and builds our self-esteem.
‘This can be achieved through many activities such as helping others, gardening, community work, and as this survey shows, caring for a pet.’
Dr. Lauren Chong, veterinary expert at Paws Holdings Ltd, said: ‘With the surge in new puppies and kittens adopted during 2020, and our daily routines having been turned upside down, many pets will now need our support as we begin spending more time away from home.
‘Many vets and behaviourists are already seeing a rise in challenges associated with limited training and socialisation opportunities.
‘Apart from separation anxiety, young pets may be experiencing new people, places and sounds for the first time, which can be very overwhelming.
She added that it was ‘reassuring’ that ’47 per cent of the respondents acknowledged pet separation anxiety’.
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