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Animals hailed as ‘loneliness solution’

New research has claimed animals could be a solution to the UK’s loneliness “epidemic”, the research found that four out of five pet owners reported dramatically reduced feelings of loneliness within just one month of owning a pet.

The research by Mars Petcare found that the average British person feels lonely for a total of seven days for each month of the year, and over a third of the population consider themselves as socially isolated, with half of 18-24 year olds claiming they are isolated.

Mars Petcare claimed “pets could be part of the solution to help alleviate loneliness and isolation thanks to the numerous benefits they offer”. The research showed more than half of pet owners felt getting a pet had given them a “new sense of purpose”, and 86% of those surveyed said their pet makes their home a happier place to be.

As many as six in 10 owners said their pet was their closest companion while half of those surveyed said they were more likely to speak with other people when out walking their dog. The company says it hopes the government will consider the role of pets when it makes its loneliness strategy announcement this weekend.

Deri Watkins, general manager of Mars Petcare UK told Pet Gazette: “We firmly believe that pets could form part of the solution to the growing issue of loneliness in the UK.

“We’re extremely passionate about the issue, which is why we submitted the study findings to the government, following their call for evidence on suggested approaches for their Loneliness Strategy.

“We truly hope that the benefits of HAI and the practical role pets can play in tackling loneliness are considered, as our research shows the tangible difference our canine and feline friends can make.”

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