Dog ownership may have helped stave off depression during pandemic – VetNurse News – Vet Nurse

Purina Petcare has released the results of some research which suggests that the bond between dogs and their owners helped mitigate against some of the negative psychological impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the research, Purina questioned 1535 current and potential dog owners using validated scales assessing depression, anxiety, happiness, attitude and commitment toward their pet, and perceived social support.

67% of participants said they felt that COVID had had an emotional impact on them.

One-third of participants also felt that their health had been impacted by the pandemic, while 45% had experienced a financial impact.

However, it was found that dog owners had higher perceived level of social support and lower depression scores.

Francois Martin, MA, Ph.D., applied behavior and welfare research section leader at Purina and lead Purina scientist on the project said: “Our research showed that dog owners fared better from a social support and emotional standpoint during COVID than people who like dogs but did not own one during the pandemic.

“Our work adds to a growing body of evidence demonstrating the power of the human pet bond, especially in times of stress.”

Libby Sheridan MVB MRCVS, Purina Scientific Affairs Manager for the UK and Ireland said: “The research aimed to build on prior evidence that suggests that dogs can contribute to their owner’s positive affective state – a psychological term describing when people are generally positive frame of mind like excited, enthusiastic, and inspired.

“Purina also set out to gain a better understanding of whether the power of the pet-owner bond continued to persist during the pandemic. Not only was the effect of dogs shown to be positive, it was also measurable and statistically significant.”

Purina says the results also provide an opportunity to reflect on the important contribution of veterinary professionals, many of whom continued to work throughout the pandemic to provide much needed services.

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