Half of Brits worried about leaving pets at home as people return to work post-lockdown

Half of UK adults are worried about leaving their pets at home when they return to work, new research suggests.

When the lockdown was first introduced on Monday 23 March in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the government stated that members of the public should work from home if they are able.

This meant that only employees at essential businesses such as supermarkets and key workers such as healthcare, transport and education workers were expected to continue operating in their workplaces.

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However, as restrictions have begun to ease and non-essential retailers and other establishments such as pubs, restaurant and hairdressers, have reopened, many people have started returning to work.

Now, as more offices begin to welcome staff back, a study by the Co-op Insurance has revealed the concerns many people who own pets have, as they are forced to leave their animals at home alone after spending months together.

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Two fifths of 2,000 people surveyed said they have spent more time with their pets recently than ever before, often being with them all day, and a similar number admitted they have spoiled their furry friends with more treats than usual, spending £25 a week on average.

Half of respondents also said they were worried about leaving their pets at home post-lockdown, with younger people the most concerned about the impact returning to work will have on their pets.

Andrew Nevitt, head of products at the Co-op, said: “During lockdown, owners have spent more time with their pets than ever before.

“It's therefore no surprise that so many pet owners are concerned about the impact returning to the office will have on their pets.

“It's really important that pet owners do what they can to support this transition. Those returning to the office need to take the necessary steps to make sure that their pets are gradually eased back into spending time alone.”

The findings come after reports that the coronavirus outbreak prompted an increased number of people to adopt pets .

For the week starting Monday 16 March, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home found forever homes for 86 dogs and 69 cats.

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This marked a considerable increase from the same week last year, when 42 dogs and 29 cats were adopted.

Furthermore, for the week starting Monday 9 March this year, 39 dogs and 52 cats were rehomed.

A recent poll conducted by the animal shelter also showed how much Britons have relied on their pets while working from home.

Almost four in 10 of the 2,000 cat and dog owners surveyed said that having a pet with them during lockdown had helped them maintain a regular routine.

Similarly, more than half (58 per cent) said that having a pet with them while they worked during lockdown had helped boost their productivity and motivation.