New research from Sainsbury’s Bank has revealed how the nation’s love for dogs, cats, and other pets has grown during the Covid-19 pandemic, with almost a quarter of UK adults (24%) having welcomed a new pet into their home since March 2020, or planning to do so before Easter 2021.
Almost half (47%) of those who have got a new pet, or plan to get one, cite companionship and mental health support as the main reason. Furthermore, over two fifths (44%) say their mental health has improved since introducing a pet into their lives.
Alongside a boost in spirits, over one in five (22%) say their physical health has improved as they exercise more with their pet, a fifth (20%) have made new friends in their neighbourhood, and 14% have explored new areas with their pet.
Dogs come out on top as the pet of choice, with 60% of new pet owners opting for canines, compared to 32% who chose cats, and 5% who picked a rabbit.
Sainsbury’s Bank data further illustrates the boom in new pets, with a 38% increase in the number of pet insurance policies sold during the UK’s first lockdown (April – June 2020), compared to the start of the year (January – March 2020).