Pets of all shapes and sizes, whether they have fur, feathers or even scales, have been found to have really helped Britons through the uncertain times we have all faced during lockdown.

A recent study conducted by University of York and University of Lincoln has found that having a pet as company throughout the uncertain times this year, benefitted mental health, wellbeing and decreased loneliness. This study has also shown that it’s not just cats and dogs that improve wellbeing, but all types of pets regardless of their species.

More than 90% of pet owners interviewed as part of the study, claimed that their pet helped them cope emotionationally throughout the period of the toughest lockdown restrictions. 96% said that their animal helped them keep fit and active during these times too.

However, more than 66% of pet owners explained that they felt worried about their pets during the lockdown. This was mainly because of the lack of access to veterinary care, and what would happen to their pet if they fell ill themselves.

“Findings from this study also demonstrated potential links between people’s mental health and the emotional bonds they form with their pets,” said lead researcher Dr Elena Ratschen, from the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York.

“We also discovered that in this study the strength of the emotional bond with pets did not statistically differ by animal species, meaning that people in our sample felt on average as emotionally close to, for example, their guinea pig as they felt to their dog.”

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected the amount of pets in the UK?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than a fifth of UK households are estimated to own at least one pet. However, we have seen a huge surge in the amount of pets being introduced to households throughout the lockdown, and continue to do so. The main reason for this is people spending more time at home, even working from home, and it has meant families have more time to dedicate to looking after a pet.

Rachel Smith
Rachel Smith is a huge animal lover and has always been passionate about the wellbeing of pets. She currently has a rescue dog, Stewie and a corn snake, Samson, but has experience of looking after various different pets over the years.

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