Britain’s pets have become crucial colleagues for their owners

Research reveals that Britain’s pets have become crucial colleagues for their owners as they work from home by boosting morale and reducing stress and anxiety.

Cats and dogs might spend their day snoring on the sofa, asking for walks and demanding treats while not offering to do a drink round of their own, but they have played a vital role in maintaining productivity and morale.

As part of a new campaign celebrating rescue pets, a study by animal charity Battersea has shown how Brita have relied on their cats and dogs while working from home.

Almost four in 10 of the 2,000 cat and dog owners surveyed said that having a pet with them during lockdown had helped them maintain a regular routine.

More than half (58%) said that having a pet with them while they work during lockdown has helped boost their productivity and motivation.

And 60% said it has helped them to get out of bed in the morning. One fifth (20%) have shared lunch with their dog while 43% say their pet has helped reduce their anxiety.

Battersea ambassador David Gandy has spent lockdown with his beloved Battersea dog, Dora, as well as his partner’s mum’s two rescue pooches.

He said: “Even though there have been frustrations with the necessary restrictions during lockdown, the dogs are blissfully oblivious to what is happening.

“They may indeed actually be enjoying it, with longer walks and more attention and playtime than ever before. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, the three dogs are by my side, laying a head on my knee through hours of Zoom calls and helping me out in the land and garden from morning until night.

“Dogs provide us with so much and ask very little back, just a walk, some food and a cuddle. They are an integral part in our lives every day but especially the past few months. I’ve seen first-hand the amazing work Battersea do to find happy endings for their dogs and cats. Now they really need our support to make sure they can continue to do that vital work.”

The research also revealed how cats and dogs have helped their owners get an issue off their chest – with one in 10 moaning about a colleague to their furry friend.

Another 12% have complained about their workload and 13% just enjoy having a natter about their work life in general.

However, the lure of a cuddly companion can be too much to resist for some – with 66% admitting they have taken cheeky breaks to spend some time playing with their cat or dog when they should be working.

Meanwhile 17% said they had a pet join them on a video call and 10% found their cat asleep at their desk or keyboard. And 29% say they have been distracted by their pet while working.

The research, carried out via OnePoll, coincides with Battersea’s new advertising campaign, which highlights the key role that rescue dogs and cats have played across the UK during quarantine.

More than half revealed they have become better connected with their pets and now understand their personality better. And 77% of dog owners say walking their dog has been the highlight of their day during lockdown.

Ali Taylor, Head of Canine Behaviour at Battersea, said” We know there’s evidence that owning a pet is good for mental health and tackling stress – and this is clearly really important at such a challenging time.

“We’ve heard so many amazing stories about how Battersea dogs and cats are now rescuing their owners – helping them feel less overwhelmed, distracting them from the news agenda and providing much-needed cuddles.”

For more information or to donate, visit www.battersea.org or you can join the growing community of rescue lovers by using #RescueIsMyFavouriteBreed.