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Pet owners have a better time in quarantine than non-pet owners, study says

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A study carried out by online researchers from the University of York reveals the multitude of benefits arising from pet ownership during the pandemic lockdown.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 28/09/2020, 18:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:25

To own a pet seems to be good for us, as if we didn’t already know. But just how good for us is a matter of opinion. Researchers from York Uni took the opportunity recently to survey a handful of Britons to find out whether their experience of lockdown was aided or not by their pet.

The York study retrieved data from an online survey sent to 5,926 Britons. The survey asked about respondents’ experiences during the period of maximum lockdown and asked about their relationship with animals. 90% of those people who took part in the survey owned a pet.

Assisted through dark times

According to the results published last week, more than 90% of respondents claimed their pet had helped them to psychologically cope with confinement. 96% noted that owning a pet had also helped them to stay fit physically.

Although researchers were careful not to promote the ownership of a pet as a means to an end, they did admit in their precis on PLOS One that, “owning animals versus not owning was associated with smaller decreases in mental health and smaller increases in (feeling) lonely during confinement.

"The possession of animals therefore seemed to mitigate some of the harmful psychological effects of confinement linked to Covid-19 ".

Responsibility not to be overlooked

Owning a pet has been for some time considered beneficial to our mental and physical health. Those lucky enough to own a pet throughout lockdown have been at an advantage. However, the worthy owner realises as well that the relationship between them and their pet works both ways, and involves a great deal of dedication.

Watch: Dogs can help us to get through the worst of Covid-19