Having a dog (or two or more) gets us outside and makes us think about their needs. Dogs also entertain and provide companionship, so they are wonderful to have (if you have time and are prepared to look after them) at any time. However, dog owners have found them especially wonderful during lockdown.
Around nine out of ten dog owners (95%) say their four-legged friend has been critical in helping them deal with the stress of the COVID-19 lockdown.
A survey of more than 1000 British dog owners, for DogsPlanet.com, gives a fascinating insight into how critical dogs have been to people’s mental health over the last 12 months.
Rémi Andrivet, founder of DogsPlanet.com, said owning a dog had clearly helped people deal with the loneliness and isolation that has come from lockdown restrictions.
He said: “The results of this survey are yet more proof that dog truly is ‘man’s best friend’.
“Perhaps it’s no surprise that people have sought comfort and friendship from their dog but for 95% of people to say that their pet has helped them deal with the stress of the pandemic is incredible. This just shows how critical dogs are to people’s wellbeing – particularly at a time of crisis.
“What was more surprising though was to learn that the animals themselves were affected by the intensity of the last year. It’s no secret that dogs are very sensitive animals so they have clearly picked up on the stress of the lockdown.”
The survey also revealed that owners were reluctant to put their dog’s health at risk during lockdown with just 17% of people cancelling or rescheduling a visit to the vet.
And like all areas of life pet care has seen a move online as a result of restrictions.
It was already the case that 57% of British owners ordered dog products online but now 56% of them do it more often than before the pandemic. And among the 43% who did not order products online before the lockdown, 40% have started to do so.
Rémi added: “The mental health impact of lockdown restrictions in the UK are only really just coming to light, in many ways this is the yet to be told story of the pandemic.”
“So, while it’s been a year of much suffering it is lovely to see that dogs have been able to lend real psychological support to their owners at such a tough time.”
If any of you have any dog stories from lockdown, please share!