LONELY people are turning to pets for friendship and unconditional love.
A survey carried out for us reveals that 88 per cent of owners admitted they bought a four-legged friend because they were lonely – with three quarters saying affection from their pet made them their perfect pal.
3 A survey has found that people are getting pets for friendship and love
One in ten said they classed their pet as a substitute baby. Having a dog, cat or other animal as part of the family also increased the level of happiness within the household.
Owning a pet has health benefits too, with medical evidence suggesting that animals reduce stress and blood pressure and lower cholesterol.
Other reasons for owning a pet include partners wanting an animal, to keep fit and exercise more, and to teach children about responsibility.
Our poll, by insurance firm The Pet Health Club, also revealed owners spend around seven and a half hours a day with their furry friends.
During this time, eight per cent of owners share their worries with their animals, with five per cent depending on their animal for support.
And 78 per cent of owners said they would rather splash out on treats for their pet than for themselves.
Pet Vet Sean McCormack says: “It’s no surprise how much love we get from pets, or that this drives us to get a pet in the first place.
“In an age when people are spending more time online rather than out meeting people, we’re getting more isolated in our daily lives. And pets are filling the gap.
‘PETS ARE FILLING THE GAP’
“While having a dog or cat isn’t the same as a loving human relationship, they are brilliant for our mental health and emotional well being.
“I’ll admit I’ve often confided in my dogs in the past, sharing a worry or two, and it helped me feel better.
“There are countless studies proving that a four-legged friend can help with health problems ranging from depression to cardiac disease.
“Our relationships with our pets are truly remarkable, and they make such a difference to our lives.
The top ten reasons to get a petHERE are the most common reasons for owning a pet, from a survey of 1,135 people by Pet Health Club.
They offer unconditional love
To get fit or exercise
They are entertaining
They are cute
I got one instead of having a baby
My partner wanted one
My children wanted one
To teach children responsibility
I wanted to socialise through having one
Star of the week
MEET Ziggy the French bulldog who celebrated her first birthday on Bring Your Dog To Work Day last Friday.
Owner Rachel Picton brought her in to Sheila Bird interior design firm in Manchester.
3 Ziggy the Frenchie has just turned one and celebrated in the office last Friday
Studio manager Rachel, 27, said: “Ziggy brings a bit more fun into our working day and she loves spending time with everybody.
“She’s like our office guard dog – barking at the doorbell and then giving welcome kisses to visitors.
“As we’re a design company with lots of drawings around, Ziggy loves to shred them – so we have to keep a close eye on her!”Pet vet
SEAN McCORMACK is on a mission to help the nation’s pets, he is head vet at tails.com which provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets
Jo Rose, from Sutton Coldfield, West Mids, has an eight-month-old chihuahua called Luna who gets plenty of exercise but every time she is left alone rips the wallpaper and chews the walls. Jo says: “How can I stop her? I don’t want to use a crate.”
3 Jo Rose is dealing with a mischievous chihuahua that runs riot when left aloneCredit: Getty – Contributor
Sean says: “This can be one of the most frustrating parts of puppy ownership. Luna is just exploring the world by chewing, as puppies do. You can manage this by redirecting her behaviour into a sort you can tolerate.
“The best way is to use “occupier” toys that she finds more appealing than the wallpaper or walls. Kong dog toys filled with soft treats or some of her dry food frozen inside may refocus her chewing behaviour.
“Rotate them to keep their novelty value. It might be worth cordoning off an area with a playpen initially if you don’t want to crate-train her.
“Sometimes dogs chew on walls or doors if they’re developing separation anxiety. If so, you’ll need to build up her independence from you so she is more content when left alone. ”
Leo Ridley, 32, from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, has a Staffie called Maggie who barely drinks but when she does, she gulps it down and is then often sick afterwards.
Sean says: “Maggie may just be overloading her stomach due to thirst after exercising and throwing the water back up as she has drunk too much.
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“It might be a good idea to let her stomach settle following exercise. Then give her a large bowl of water or offer her a little at a time, spaced apart every ten to 20 minutes.
“Worms can also cause a sensitive stomach, making Maggie more prone to vomiting, so get her wormed regularly.
“Other causes could be a problem with her oesophagus that carries food and water to her stomach, or her stomach itself, or she may have swallowed an object. Get a vet to examine her to ensure everything is ok.”
Do you need the Pet Vet’s help? Email email@example.com and you and your pet could feature in The Sun on Sunday.
Win your furry fashionista a hoodieIS your dog a furry fashionista? Then you will love these animal print hoodies from missteddy.com.
They are machine washable, pull over your dog’s head for comfort and have striped detail on the trim.
For a chance to win one of five £43 hoodies, send an email with your preferred size (extra small, small, medium or large) with MISS TEDDY in the subject line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the competition’s terms and conditions by clicking here.
Mum removes dog hairs from carpet in seconds using a £2 pumice stone