Pet owners believe their pet has got them through the COVID-19 pandemic

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22 June 2020
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A nationwide survey conducted by Mars Petcare UK has revealed that 80 per cent of pet owners believe their pet has got them through the COVID-19 pandemic, with 86 per cent having bonded with their pet even more since the start of lockdown.

In fact, almost half (47 per cent) of those polled believe their pet has kept them sane, with 63 per cent claiming their furry friend has provided better company in lockdown than their other half.

The survey revealed that 86 per cent believe they are happier in general than people who do not have pets, with 36 per cent saying they haven’t felt lonely thanks to their pet.

For three in five dog owners (65 per cent), the daily walk has kept them going, while one third (30 per cent) agree that having a pet gives them a sense of purpose.

Darren Logan PhD, head of research, Waltham Petcare Science Institute commented: “Pets can offer a sense of connection and the feeling of unconditional love, which is so important during these uncertain times. They can provide emotional support, improve our moods and reduce levels of stress, and may even help with depression and loneliness. On top of this, they also encourage us to keep active, be that through a walk outside or playing in the house or garden. It comes as no surprise that 73 percent of the nation feel that their pet has kept their spirits up not only during lockdown but every day!”

The findings come as Mars Petcare UK joins leading pet charities Battersea, Blue Cross, and ADCH to call on the nation to donate much needed funds to their local animal shelters to support not just the humans working, but importantly, the pets they care for.

In fact, 19 per cent of pet owners were not aware of the difficulties rescue centre, are facing as a result of COVID-19 and lockdown.

Helen Warren-Piper, general manager, Mars Petcare UK said: “Our survey findings clearly show how important our pets are to us. However, we also know that there are many pets out there who have yet to find a loving home. Mars Petcare works closely with a number of shelters across the UK, many of whom saw a sudden rise in pet adoptions ahead of COVID-19, but things have quickly changed. Forced to close to the public, operating with limited staff and cancelling vital fundraising events, animal shelters are the silent victims of the pandemic and they drastically need our help. This is why we’ve partnered with Battersea, Blue Cross, and ADCH to call on the British public to donate what they can to their local animal shelters.”

Responding to calls from charities across the country who are struggling to secure resources to care for pets, Mars Petcare UK donated pet food from a number of its well-known brands, including PEDIGREE® and WHISKAS®, to multiple organisations, reaching over 800,000 vulnerable cats and dogs to date. Mars has also made a financial donation to the ADCH Corona Virus Emergency Fund, which provides immediate financial aid to rescue centres in crisis, and continues to support Blue Cross through the Mars Petcare Comedy Pet Photography Awards partnership – but the effort doesn’t stop there.

Claire Horton, ADCH chairman and chief executive of Battersea, said: “There are over 1,200 animal rescue and rehoming centres throughout the UK, doing their best to care for thousands of homeless pets each year. The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on virtually every single one. More than half of them have seen their fundraising cut by over 50 per cent but there has been no let-up in the number of animals that need their care. The very survival of some of these rescues is at stake - and their closure would be catastrophic for animals in need. We know pet abandonment may be a consequence of the pandemic, so our nation's shelters need support now more than ever. We’re proud to stand with Mars Petcare UK and Blue Cross to ask for your support for these rescues that provide such vital services to animals in need.”

Speaking about the appeal Kelly Grellier, Director of Rehoming, Blue Cross commented: “Blue Cross prides itself on having never once closed its doors to pets in need, neither world war forced us to shut down, and our doors remain open now. But right now, our services are temporarily limited and it’s something none of us could have ever expected. If this survey data shows us anything, it’s that we’re an animal loving nation, but as the repercussions of COVID-19 begin to hit, we’re worried about what this will mean for rescue centres across the country and vulnerable pets. We’re delighted to stand with Mars Petcare UK, Battersea and ADCH to ask for your help to support those caring for the UK’s animals, both big and small.”

More than ever before, animal charities across the UK need our support and there are lots of different ways to do that including getting in touch with your local rescue centre.

Alternatively, you can support these charities directly:

To donate to Blue Cross, visit: www.bluecross.org.uk/donate

To donate to Battersea, visit: www.donate.battersea.org.uk

To donate to the ADCH’s Emergency Covid Appeal Emergency Fund, visit: www.adch.org.uk/donate