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Pets Playing Their Part during Lockdown

  • By Caroline Denholm
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Pets up and down the country are helping their owners with stressful situations, but are also causing a delightful distraction, according to new research from National Accident Helpline.

The study, which polled 2,000 British residents, asked the public how much they rely on their furry friends to keep them calm during stressful situations, but also shows that their cuteness can become a distraction when owners need to focus on other tasks around the home.

With the country facing an unprecedented period of social lockdown, many Brits are looking to their furry friends as a calming solace to help with the stress of the situation, with many non-pet owners even looking to add a pet to their household according to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

The research from National Accident Helpline shows that a pet is an ideal companion during any period of stress, with 87% of pet-owner respondents agreeing that their pet helps them destress during difficult moments. Only 2% of those surveyed stated their pets were not a calming influence during stressful moments.

Dennis Relojo-Howell, founder of psychology website Psychreg, explains:

“Research has shown that pets, especially dogs and cats, can help us adapt to stressful events. Take, for instance, the current crisis that we’re going through – if you have a pet, this can provide you with an opportunity to relax and calm your mind. Our interactions with our pets can soften the effects of adverse events and can decrease our stress.”

When it comes to choosing which animal would make the perfect pet to help keep the country calm during moments of stress, the research shows that Labrador Retrievers top the list, beating all other breeds for the crown of UK’s favourite dog. In second place, Brits revealed just how much they love Cockapoos – not only are they extremely affectionate, they hardly shed, meaning less cleaning. Coming in third was the Springer Spaniel breed, who love to socialise and have an abundance of energy.

When it comes to feline friends, the placid British Shorthair was ranked as the number one cat to own, with the beautiful Bengal breed coming in at close second. At number three was the Persian cat, known for its thick, glossy fur and kitten-like bursts of energy.

However, whilst living with a pet can help people deal with stress, they can also sometimes provide an unwanted distraction when looking to focus on other things. Especially for those currently required to work from home, pets can sometimes be distracting at inappropriate times.

The survey data shows that over two-thirds of respondents (69%) find their pets an ongoing distraction when trying to concentrate on other tasks around the home, whilst only 13% stated they don’t find their pets a distraction and are able to continue to concentrate on tasks such as working from home.

It seems that pet owners in Bristol are they most likely to struggle to get things done, with 84% of pet owners saying they get drawn away from what they’re doing by their pets. Sheffield residents are the most resilient to their pet’s distracting antics – but with 55% of them still admitting to being engrossed in what their animals are doing, that’s still over half of pet owners that are preoccupied on a regular basis.

The results also indicated that the younger generation are in fact better at staying focused despite the balls of energy that may be charging around the home. Over half (59%) of 18-24-year-olds found themselves becoming consistently distracted by their pets, compared to 82% of 45-54-year-olds who find themselves being dragged away by their animals.

More information can be found here: https://www.national-accident-helpline.co.uk/news/post/pets-home

Commenting on the research, Tom Fitzgerald, Managing Director of National Accident Helpline said:

“Whilst we obviously love our pets, it is great to see the research indicate that they are also helping keep the country calm during this stressful time.

“Much like recovering from an accident at home, the country is being forced to try and continue their day to day lives without leaving the house. As the research shows, pets can be a big help during this time, helping cheer people up and offering a friendly face for those who live on their own.

“However, it is also important to ensure you are putting aside set time to complete certain tasks whilst you are unable to leave your home. Whether it’s working from home, doing housework or completing rehabilitation recovery exercises, some activities may require you to give full attention to the task at hand -however cute the distraction may be.”

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