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If you don’t know someone who has acquired themselves a new furry friend this past year, then you’re probably in the minority. Of the many impactful trends the coronavirus pandemic has created, the surge in demand for dogs has been one of the more striking. Over the last year, puppy prices have more than doubled to a £1,900 average, while black market breeding has become a bigger issue.
Regardless of the controversies, it would appear our appetite for animal companionship has never been bigger, but why? Some would point to boredom and extra cash lying around, but the larger reason we could point to is happiness or, more specifically, mental health.
There’s been no shortage of conversation surrounding mental health in relation to living and working conditions throughout lockdown life. But, according to an animal charity, SPANA, our pets could be a bigger ally than we think in the war against stress and unhappiness at work and home.
We Didn’t Need A Pandemic To Know We Were Stressed At Work
Back in late 2019, just before the very first murmurings of coronavirus began, SPANA approached 2,000 employees to ask about their mental health in relation to their professional lives. Their research found that six out of ten employees were feeling either tired, anxious or worried about their workload and hours, with only four in ten believing their workplace had an adequate mental health framework in place. The study also looked into a variety of work-related triggers and the numbers surrounding them, with seven in ten workers struggling to “switch off” come the end of the day.
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With the data in question-based on pre-COVID working life and the additional stresses and pressures that have surfaced with remote working and restricted lifestyles, one can only imagine these numbers have gotten worse. In essence, we were already stressed at work, so where are we now after an unprecedented 18 months?
The Benefit Of Animals On Our Mental Health
Despite producing such worrying numbers, the SPANA study does have a positive solution in the form of our pets. Their research found that 83% of pet owners felt their pet reduced their stress levels and improved emotional wellbeing – making it one of the top coping strategies in the study.
The benefits of owning a pet are well documented and have likely come in extra handy for pet owners through a testing period. The sense of companionship and routine our dogs provide appeals to two fundamentals of better mental health during the lockdown, while the simple act of stroking your pet will see your oxytocin, or “happy hormone”, levels rising.
Anxiety, stress, loneliness – these are all key themes of poor mental health at the moment. Luckily, with the addition of a pet, many of us have found an adorable answer to these problems.
Making Your Pet The Ultimate WFH Partner
With remote working the new normal and most likely here to stay in numerous industries, many of us have the chance to develop an even greater bond with our pets. Of course, we still need to get some work done while our fluffy companions are around, so the international delivery experts, parcel2go, put together some tips on how to make your pet the perfect work buddy, including:
- Creating a safe space for your pet
- Ensuring your pet gets enough exercise to stay physically and mentally fit
- Using toys to ensure your pet is happy
- Managing a potential transition back to work to reduce the impact of separation anxiety
Owning a pet has always been one of life’s great experiences, but right now, amid tough lockdown conditions, our loyal friends have never been more important. If coronavirus has taught us one thing with regard to our dogs and other pets, it’s that the term “man’s best friend” couldn’t be more fitting.