The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has launched a new piece of research to explore how the ownership of dogs during the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the mental health and wellbeing of children.
The ‘Pandemic Pals’ study seeks to explore relationships between dogs and their owners, focussing in particular on children’s unique experiences and challenges during the pandemic. It is hoped that this research will support organisations to provide better support for households with children and dogs across the UK.
The research, funded by the Society of Companion Animal Studies, includes online surveys for both adults and families with children.
Dr Claire Brand, research technician in canine welfare science at the RVC, said: “There is strong evidence that the Covid-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the mental health of children in the UK, as a result of social restrictions imposed during 2020 and 2021 to restrict the spread of the virus. Our previous research highlighted that many puppy acquisitions during this time were driven by the hope of this new family member supporting household mental health, including that of children, during this challenging period.
“We are motivated to understand if and how dogs, both newly acquired puppies during the pandemic, and those already living in the household during this time, impacted the wellbeing of children during the pandemic.”