With over 50% of the global population under lockdown with the Covid 19 Virus, pet owners are discovering how good it is to have a pet in the house both mentally and physically.
Increasingly more scientific studies are showing that having a pet is positive for people’s mental health. One theory is that pets, particularly dogs and cats, can boost our oxytocin levels. This is otherwise known as the ‘bonding hormone’ or ‘cuddle chemical’, which enhances social skills, decreases blood pressure and the heart rate and boosts the immune system. The other big reason why pets are good for mental health is that oxytocin lowers stress, anger and depression.
If you think about it; tough day at work, come back to you home, greeted by your dog, give him or her a big hug or stroke your dog or cat and suddenly the days stresses and worries begin to disappear. Sound familiar? That is the ‘cuddle chemical’ relaxing you, which is why pets are good for people’s mental health. It has also been claimed that children growing up with pets, not only build a stronger immune system but also find social interaction easier from an earlier age.
In London, the Capital where people don’t generally talk to you on the underground and busses, have a dog and the whole picture changes. People will smile at you, ask about the breed, what is he or she is called. Walking around London with a dog does cheer up your busy day.
That is why there need to be more pet friendly rentals all over the UK. In particular in London, where there are more pet restrictions when it comes to blocks and individual landlords. Research from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home shows that even though the number of pet-friendly is slowly improving, there is still a long way to go. https://www.battersea.org.uk/support-us/campaigns/pet-friendly-properties
A recent article in The Daily Telegraph https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/25/pet-shops-shelters-cleared-hamsters-dogs-cats-british-people/ tells of how pet shelters and pet shops have been cleared of animals as people look to have some company over the Covid 19 lockdown period. This highlights the importance of pets to people’s welfare and mental health in general. At the end of March 2020, more than double the number of cats and dogs left Battersea Dogs and Cats Home https://www.battersea.org.uk/
Dog walking during the lock down has brought people and families together. Walking the dog (be some combined with running) has become the main source of exercise, a time to clear your head and get some fresh air before returning home for the rest of the day. At a distance you can still greet friends and fellow dog owners you see. The Dog Vine has posted an article about support for Londoners with dogs in self-isolation. https://thedogvine.com/london-support-groups-for-dog-owners-in-self-isolation/
Russell Hunt is the Founder of Pets Lets, loves pets and has a Beagle/ Bassett. We specialise in London pet-friendly rentals. We have been working in the London property sector for over 25 years. We offer our experience to help people find London pet-friendly homes as well as raise the issue of the shortage of pet-friendly accommodation in the Capital. To find out more, email us at [email protected] or follow us on Instagram @petslets