In a fast-paced and stressful world, finding meaningful ways to improve our overall wellbeing is becoming increasingly important. While numerous strategies exist, one avenue that stands out for its profound impact on our mental, emotional and physical health is caring for pets and animals.
Studies have shown that interactions as simple as petting a dog can lower our stress hormones and promote increased levels of the happy hormone, oxytocin1. Beyond the surface level of companionship and cuteness, the act of tending to animals’ needs can bring about a transformative shift in our own lives.
As the Director of Petpals, the UK’s longest-running multi-service pet-care franchise, Kevin Thackrah has first-hand experience of how working with pets has positive effects on franchisees’ mental and physical wellbeing. If you are an animal lover seeking a career that aligns with your passion for pet care while bringing you closer to a state of holistic and lasting wellbeing, Kevin shares his thoughts on why investing in your own pet-care franchise might be the answer.
In today’s evolving work culture, more and more businesses are recognising the positive impact of pets on employee wellbeing. Allowing pets in the office has gained traction as studies highlight their numerous benefits, such as reduced stress levels, increased productivity and enhanced employee morale. With this in mind, it is worth considering the positive effects that owning and running a business that solely operates with pets can have on your wellbeing.
Animal-assisted intervention (AAI) has been widely acknowledged for its advantages in healthcare settings, and an expanding body of evidence supports the efficacy and therapeutic value of interactions between humans and animals. It acknowledges the special connection between people and animals and utilises it to promote physical, emotional and social development.
Spending time with a friendly, non-judgmental animal can create a calming effect, lowering blood pressure and increasing the production of serotonin and dopamine, known as “feel-good” neurotransmitters, leading to improved mood and emotional wellbeing. For years, AAI has been used in school and care home settings to assist those who are in need of additional emotional support and companionship. These same benefits seen in AAI are what our franchisees enjoy each day. By immersing themselves in a rewarding enterprise centred around pets, they experience the therapeutic advantages of connecting with animals while building a profitable business, bringing lasting happiness and vitality on a personal and professional level.
Caring for pets and animals can give you a sense of purpose. Knowing that your work directly contributes to the wellbeing and happiness of animals can be incredibly gratifying and improves our mental health. When we care for and help animals, we are engaged in altruistic behaviours. By offering services such as cat and small pet sitting, dog walking, puppy and elderly dog care, we contribute to the health and happiness of pets, helping strengthen the bond between owners and their companions. Not only can this lead to feelings of being valuable and promote a sense of purpose, it has also shown to strengthen social relationships and benefit self-acceptance.
It is not just our mental wellbeing that a career caring for animals can improve; it can enhance our physical wellbeing too. Walking dogs, cleaning enclosures or engaging in playtime with pets can help improve motor skills, coordination and balance, increasing energy levels and improving fitness. AAI has shown positive effects on cardiovascular health, as petting or stroking an animal has been associated with reduced heart rate and improved cardiovascular function. Enhancing physical wellbeing, in turn, positively impacts mental health, as it can stimulate the production of mood-enhancing endorphins while reducing stress levels. Being outdoors as a dog walker provides an opportunity to connect with nature. Aspects of walking a dog that we often take for granted, such as breathing in fresh air, feeling the warmth of the sun and being surrounded by natural beauty, all can have a soothing effect, help alleviate anxiety, improve mood and increase feelings of happiness and contentment.
As more people recognise and appreciate the positive impact pets have on their lives, the pet-care industry is seeing exponential demand. In 2022, around 57% of households housed 38 million pets in the UK, highlighting that the £6.3bn pet-care industry assists over half of homes nationwide2. At Petpals, our franchisees operating in over 150 areas nationwide have witnessed the incredible demand for a local professional service that pet owners can rely on. Regardless of your personal goals, whether it is improving your wellbeing or pursuing a business that offers a great return on investment, if you have a passion for pets and the drive to establish a business, investing in a pet-care franchise presents a proven and effective proposition.
Remember, investing in a franchise that resonates with your interests and passions is important. While caring for pets can be incredibly satisfying, it is essential to acknowledge the associated responsibilities and challenges that accompany taking on a pet-care business. By thoroughly considering these factors before embarking on a franchise around pets, you can confidently navigate the fulfilling pet-care industry and embark on a truly rewarding venture.
Investing in a pet-care franchise provides the opportunity to revolutionise our wellbeing, fostering an environment where our furry companions become catalysts for personal and professional growth. Their profound impact on our physical, mental and emotional states combined with the stable demand in the industry makes the prospect of a pet-centric business an avenue brimming with potential.
For more information on franchise investment opportunities with Petpals, visit
1 Animals: An Open Access Journal from MDPI: The Role of Oxytocin in the Dog-Owner Relationship
2 UK Pet Food: UK Pet Population 2023