More than 29 million Brits (55%) believe that a childhood pet can help build stronger coping mechanisms in stressful situations in adult life, according to new research from the National Office of Animal Health.
NOAH’s poll of more than 2,000 UK adults revealed that 98% of those surveyed felt, despite the care needed, they would not be more stressed by having a pet during times of difficulty. In fact, over half (52%) agreed that pets helped elevate their mood in times of distress and upset, and one in five pet owners (20%) would be most likely to turn to their pets for comfort.
The positive impact of pets on mental health is strongly supported, with nearly two in five UK adults (38%) believing that having a pet can help by giving them confidence, which is all the more important as nearly half (47%) admit they have suffered from at least one mental health condition.
Sixty-seven per cent of those polled also believe that having a pet provides companionship and friendship and 52% believe that pets help those who may be feeling lonely.
NOAH chief executive Dawn Howard said: “Mental health has a huge impact on the quality of our lives. Stress is a part of this: it is a normal part of life, yet at times we may become overwhelmed and our mental health can suffer.
“It’s reassuring to see the importance that pets play in helping us through difficult times. Our new research shines a light on how companion animals can help our wellbeing. There is no denying that pets have a hugely positive impact on people.”