Keeping kids entertained during half term isn't always the easiest task, but new research from pet care company Purina reveals that family pets are purrfect for helping to alleviate some half-term stresses. A huge 77% of parents rely on furry friends to help entertain little ones and a third (33%) said that pet sitting provides cost-effective entertainment during the holidays.
The study was commissioned as part of Purina's launch of its new set of Commitments dedicated to championing the pet-human bond, by improving the life and wellbeing of pets, people and our planet. The new research reflects how beneficial this bond can be; from benefiting mental and physical wellbeing, to providing free fun at a time when many parents will be wondering how to fill the days.
As well as helping with cutting costs, over half (60%) of parents credit dog walks for helping to keep kids active by getting them away from screens during the holidays – which is a no small feat. But it's not just for little ones, as parents themselves (33%) admit to offering to pet sit for others as a way of gaining some positive distraction for themselves amid school holiday chaos.
The research even shows that when things might get a little tense at home, families lower their voices (25%) during a family squabble when a furry friend walks in.
Brits love pets so much that parents said that living with a beloved family pet is better than; dinner with David Beckham (38%), three holidays a year (20%), or a new car (20%). A third (28%) even admitted to spending time with a friend to secretly spend time with their pet. Nearly a third (28%) even admitted to spending time with a friend to secretly spend time with their pet.
The research found that 50% of mums and dads use pet playtime as a reward for little ones finishing their homework, showing how much kids value their furry companions. What's more is that the findings showed spending time with a pet is educational, as almost two thirds (64%) said a family pet helps their child be more responsible.
Calum Macrae, Regional Director for Purina UK & Ireland, said: "At Purina we're committed to championing the very real and important benefits of spending time with pets. Whether it's your own family cat or dog, or others within your social or family circle, our research highlights the many ways simply spending time with pets can be so beneficial. With half term round just the corner, it's the perfect time to remind everyone how powerful the bond can be.
"Beyond just half term though, we know that many people are unfortunately experiencing unprecedented levels of difficulty and stress at the moment. With this in mind, we are really pleased to launch our six new Purina Commitments, which include pledging our support, for the first time, to fostering people’s mental and physical health through the power of the pet human-bond."
Jo Hemmings, Behavioural Psychologist who specialises in family dynamics, said: "With families across the nation currently feeling the cost-of-living crisis strain, it's important to embrace things that bring us joy. That's why it comes as no surprise families feel less stressed (32%) when they have a pet around to keep children entertained during school holidays.
"Pets are a great source of reassurance, not just for children but parents too, as they're oblivious to reality and help bring a sense of normality to our day-to-day lives. So, whether it's looking after your friend's dog for the weekend or snuggling up to your cat, now is the time to take comfort from our pet companions."
Through their new commitments, Purina aims to support 1 million people in vulnerable situations by improving their health and wellbeing through the power of the pet-human bond. To help scale the impact of this commitment, Purina announced the launch and evolution of its BetterWithPets Prize 2022, an award for impactful organisations who leverage the power of the pet human bond to improve the lives of people in vulnerable situations. The sourcing of official applications will start in January 2023.
For more information about Purina, please visit Purina website.