The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) latest Paw Report has found that owning a pet can make people feel less lonely and mentally healthier.
The PAW Report, which was produced in conjunction with YouGov, has tracked pet wellbeing in the UK for the last decade. It surveys 18 million pet owners in the UK to obtain the results.
The report revealed that out of the total amount of owners, 2.8 million pets live in a single-person household in the UK.
Many of these owners, often elderly and vulnerable people, remain at risk of facing isolated and lonely months ahead, with only their pet for company as the Covid-19 cases continue to affect people’s lives.
Nina Downing, vet nurse for PDSA, said: “PDSA’s latest PAW Report findings highlight the vital role that pets play in helping to counteract the effects of loneliness for millions of people in the UK.
“Looking after pets helps to add structure to people’s lives, with the regular daily routine of feeding and exercise, as well as the physical benefit of taking them for walks and playing with them in your garden or home. Our PAW Report shows that pets have been a lifeline for millions of people since the pandemic began.”
She added: “Despite lockdown restrictions, your pet still needs just as much exercise as they normally would to keep them healthy and stop them from getting bored. While pet ownership can bring positive benefits to us, taking on a pet is a huge responsibility, so it’s important to ensure we are providing for all of their needs too.
“With so much uncertainty, we really would not recommend taking on a pet just at the moment. Instead, contact your local animal charity to see how you might be able to help them remotely.”