Almost half of Brits confess their pet saved their mental health this past year

More than half of UK pet owners (53%) take more snaps of their pets than they do their partner or children, and these are most likely for social media, according to Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

A new poll by the pet food provider found that the nation’s four-legged friends have been ‘lifesavers’ during lockdowns, with more than a third (34%) declaring their pet was their only company, and two thirds sharing more than 10 conversations a day with theirs – with what to have for dinner and family problems top of the chat.

As the pandemic approaches the 18-month mark, our furry friends have not just been valuable companions but also a saviour of mental health. Many of us turned to our cats and dogs to help us endure lengthy lockdowns and social isolation, with exercise and watching TV shows together top of the activities list, closely followed by reading and singing to them.

Fi Marjoram, Hill’s Pet Nutrition said: “Britain’s pets have become even more integral in our lives since the pandemic hit, providing many with love, comfort, company, and entertainment. While the health and wellbeing benefits are clear to see, they have also brought so much joy and fun during a very stressful period, from taking over our desk spaces and regular appearances in zoom meetings to entertaining our friends on our – and their own – social ‘petworks’. In many ways our adorable animals rule the internet!”

As the country sets its sights on a return to the office, Hill’s is today launching a UK-wide competition Pet Photographer of The Year, to capture the meaningful (and fun) moments when our worlds were turned upside down – and remember how our four-legged friends helped us through it. The competition will celebrate the integral role pets have played in supporting their owners during the past year by asking the nation to share their funniest or warmest pictures of their cat or dog in lockdown.

Ten winners will receive a ‘Tackling Separation Anxiety as we Return to Work’ session with top behaviourist Sarah Whitehead. A world-renowned international lecturer, best-selling author and pet behaviour counsellor, Sarah works with dogs and cats with behavioural problems, even consulting with the Royal Family on how to prevent and treat separation anxiety.

Top 10 topics UK pet owners discussed with their pet during lockdowns include:

  1. Plans for dinner
  2. Family problems
  3. Work problems
  4. Secrets they would never share with anyone else
  5. Relationship problems
  6. The pandemic
  7. Love life
  8. Medical problems
  9. Life issues
  10. Plots of TV shows and movies

You can enter Hill’s Pet Photographer of the Year competition here. Entries will be open from 1st October to 22nd October.