Half of UK complained to pets about work colleagues during lockdown

  • 49% said they have complained to their pets about work colleagues, friends and family over lockdown
  • 76% of pet owners said spending time with pets has helped their mental health
  • Pet owners take more photos of their pets than family, friends and partners, sharing them on social media as pet pictures take over the internet

New research on Britain’s obsession with pets has revealed the important role our furry friends played over the lockdown period, and how complaining to them and being in close contact with them has been such a crucial outlet for emotion and connection throughout the year.

Towergate Insurance surveyed 1,000 cat and dog owners and found that thanks to 75% of owners spending much more time with their pets during the lockdown period, 49% have complained to their pets about work colleagues, friends and family, and now feel anxious about returning full time to work as a result of building such a closer relationship with their pets.

One-quarter of people said they had taken more pictures of their pets than ever before, with most of them doing so to “make memories” and also “to capture them doing something funny,” highlighting our passion for sharing humorous pictures of our pets on social media. Indeed, the top accounts on social media dedicated to pets have amassed over 110 million followers across platforms worth thousands of pounds per post.

Taking pictures of pets is in fact so popular, that the pet owners surveyed, said they took more pictures of their pets than their family, partner, food or holiday sights.

These photos and memories captured between the pets and their owners have real-life benefits too, with around 76% saying that spending time with their pets has helped to improve their mental health during a stressful and worrying period of lockdown.

Respondents loved taking photos of their pets so much, that over 50% said they would be prepared pay for a professional pet photographer to capture their pets in a studio setting, with some even willing to fork out over £500 for the privilege. Those aged 25-34 were the most open to splashing the cash on their pets, with the average cost they were willing to spend reaching £106.

Towergate spoke to several professional pet photographers as part of their research, including Kerry Jordan, the creator of National Dog Photography Day, which is celebrated every July. She explained the reason why she created the annual day, saying: “I created National Dog Photography Day to celebrate the fact that people’s relationships with dogs are so important, and people want to document their best friend.”

Alison Wild from Towergate Insurance said:

“We all know how important pets are to us, but these results underline the connection many have seen grow with their cats and dogs during a time of uncertainty and isolation. For many, pets were a constant fixture and always available for comfort and companionship, so it is unsurprising how many people agreed that their presence improved their mental health and will miss them as we return to work.”