Pandemic Pets: 96% of British Pet Guardians say Their Pet is Essential to Their Mental Health

We know Brits love their pets, but how vital are they to coping with life’s ups and downs? According to a new study from Pawshake, pets are the heroes helping us maintain our mental health.

Pandemic pets of 2020: new adoptions on the rise

Many pet shelters have reported an increase in adoptions and fostering over the past year. Of those who have adopted a pandemic pet, 26% did so to give a shelter pet a new home, 15% for companionship and 16% to find a sense of meaning in caring for an animal.

Of the 96% of British pet owners who say their pet helped them through the pandemic, 62% also said their pet has helped them to deal with loneliness, 68% say their pet has helped them maintain a healthy routine and 43% say their pet has motivated them to exercise.

When asked what their pets meant to them, answers included ‘Everything’, ‘Besotted – can’t imagine life without them!’, ‘My family’ and ‘the world’.

Our relationship with our pets has forever changed

British pets have had to see a lot more of their owners around the house than ever before. Indeed, 74% of survey participants confirmed that they had spent more time with their pet in the past year than ever before.

Lockdown has altered how many pet owners feel about their fur baby – with 60% confirming that pandemic has changed their relationship with their pet.

Of those who have noticed a change in their relationship with their pet, 67% say they feel closer to their pet and 57% say they now notice subtle details in their pet’s behaviour.

Pet owner anxiety has risen too, with 47% now worrying even more about leaving their pet at home alone. This is a big shift from a time when most pet owners would head off to work and not think twice about leaving their pets home alone all day.

Pawshake CEO Tanguy Peers comments on the research, “Separation anxiety can be a problem, especially when pets are used to us being at home all day then experience a drastic change in routine when we go back to work. The change can be quite unsettling for them.”

“At Pawshake, we hope our pet sitting and dog walking services will alleviate some of the stress. We are continuously educating and preparing our sitters to be ready to help when things open back up.”

Pets have changed

It seems the pandemic has been noticed by our pets, too. 55% of pet owners confirmed that they had spotted changes recently in their pet’s behaviour. Some of these changes are for the better, such as 44% of pets appearing to be happier.

Unfortunately, not all changes have been positive. 49% of pet owners admit their pet is more attached to them and frets when they’re home alone, and 15% admitting their pet had gained weight.

Pawshake has had a significant uptick in new pet registrations on the website since the announcement of the lockdown exit plans. It looks forward to supporting British pet owners with plenty of flexible care options for their precious pets. With more than 3,000 Pawshake sitters in the UK, many available at a moment’s notice, pet owners no longer need to worry about their pet feeling stressed when they aren’t at home.

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