The Pet Effect

Pet ownership has increased during the COVID pandemic, with many of us turning to pets to help us get through this challenging time, in the hope that they could provide a ‘buffering effect’ – filling the gap that a lack of social interaction with other humans created. However, can pets actually lower our levels of loneliness and depression or is this just the ‘availability heuristic’ tricking us?

The “Pet Effect” is the idea that getting a pet will make you healthier and happier, and an online search into the relationship between happiness and pets will throw up around 70% positive articles versus 10-20% negative or neutral articles. However, whilst some of us may have had our lives enriched by getting a pet, others may be stressed from having to deal with pet behavioural or health issues. Furthermore, as society continues to open up and more of us return to the office, many of us will also face the challenge of day-care which may further negate the benefits of pet ownership, and potentially cause a spike in owners looking to re-home their pets.

What is your view on pets, and what the post-lockdown world might look like for pets or pet-owners?

If you have any questions on this topic, or how Impact’s behavioural science team could help you with your market research projects, do not hesitate to reach out to us.

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