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BRITAIN’S PETS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER TO THEIR HEALTH AND WELLBEING

Survey by Ipsos MORI sheds light on how COVID-19 is changing the relationship between Brits and our furry friends

  • Britain is more besotted with pets than ever. A staggering 41% of current pet owners got a new pet during lockdown, of which 95% were existing pet owners who got another animal and 5% did not previously own a pet before the lockdown. 21% of pet owners got a new dog and 19% got a cat.
  • 10% of GB households currently without pets intend to get one in the next 6 months.
  • Overall, 80% of those polled with dogs in their household agree that their dog keeps them physically active. Around 4 in 10 dog owners agree that when lockdown restrictions are lifted, they will take their dogs for more frequent and longer walks.
  • As a consequence of lockdown, 37% of pet owners who have worked from home more often than before the lockdown* say they now have a closer relationship with their pets than before, with 86% seeing their dog as a companion.
  • Among pet owners who expect their spending on their pets to change as a result of lockdown restrictions being lifted, the majority anticipate spending more. 30% of dog owners say they would spend more money on dog walking services in the near future. 
  • The survey was conducted by LetterOne as part of a wider body of research for ‘The Pet Factor’ – the latest instalment in its Global Perspectives journal series, which examines the economic and health benefits associated with pet ownership.

A new survey released last month suggests that pet ownership in Great Britain is soaring. Almost half of all Brits who currently own a pet got at least one new furry friend during lockdown; and 10% of British households currently without pets intend to get one in the next 6 months.

In the wake of the lockdown, 80% of dog owners agreed that their dog keeps them physically active. Around 40% of all owners said that as lockdown restrictions are lifted, they will take their dogs for more frequent and longer walks. 49% of pet owners disagree that they only walk their dog for the dog’s benefit. Among pet owners who expect their spending on their pets to change as a result of lockdown restrictions being lifted, the majority anticipate spending more. 30% of dog owners say they would spend more money on dog walking services. 

Lockdown in Britain saw many more people working from home, with 1 in 3 people working from home at least 2 days a week after the lockdown was imposed. As the government today announces a greater drive to work from home, we will see a return for many to spending more time at home. Overall the experience has been positive for our relationships with our pets, with 37% of pet owners who have worked from home more often since lockdown saying they now have a closer relationship with their pets than before. 86% of dog owners who have worked from home more often see their dog as a companion, with older people reporting greater feelings of companionship – 92% of 45-64yr olds.

As other people return to their places of work, 22% of those who have spent more time working from home than before the lockdown are now worried about how their pets will cope as lockdown restrictions are lifted; indeed, 20% expect to spend less time with their pets. 9% of households with pets are now less willing to leave their pets alone than they were before.

The surge in popularity of pet ownership was uncovered by research that was carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the investment company LetterOne. It examined a wide range of social and economic factors related to experiences of owning a pet in Britain during the COVID-19 pandemic, including: the strength of our relationship with our pets; our ability to work from home with or without them; our future spending habits and our inclination to buy another pet or a pet for the first time. The survey is part of a body of research that has gone into the latest edition of the company’s Global Perspectives journal series entitled ‘The Pet Factor’, which examines the economic and health benefits associated with pet ownership. The new publication includes a meta-analysis of global research into how and why pet owners tend to be more physically active and have better general health. Using 139 data sets the analysis found that, typically, pet owners are 60% more physically active than non-pet owners.

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