While the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for humans for a variety of reasons, there’s been one clear beneficiary of work-from-home and quarantine policies: our pets. Pets that were left alone for a portion of the day suddenly had their owners home with them all the time. On top of that, many people got new pets during the pandemic.
Millions of Households Adopted New Pets During the Coronavirus Pandemic
A survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) estimated that more than 11 million Americans got a new pet during the pandemic. The survey asked 2,000 people, a mix of prior pet owners and non-pet owners, and found that 9% had acquired a new pet, as of September 2020. Prior surveys had recorded lower percentages of pet owners. The surveyors then estimated based on that 9% that 11 million households had acquired new pets during the pandemic.
As the pandemic continued, more and more people got pets, with the percentage of pet owners increasing each month.
Why Did So Many People Get New Pets During the Pandemic?
People get new pets for a variety of reasons. However, with social activities limited during the pandemic, many people got a new pet for companionship. For some of those who lived alone and weren’t able to see friends and family, a pet offered the companionship they were missing. For others, a pet helped to reduce the stress they were experiencing. Plus, owning a pet could help people stay healthier by ensuring that they exercised to take care of their new furry family member.
What Impact Does the Increase in Pet Ownership Have?
There are a lot of services that cater to pet owners. These include veterinary services, grooming, pet-sitting, and more. With 11 million households increasing in size by one pet, that’s a lot more pets and a lot more pet owners in need of those services. For regular pet care, it’s a good idea to book well in advance if you know you’ll need vaccinations for your pet or if you know you’ll be out of town and need pet-sitting services.
How Has the Increase in Pet Ownership Affected Veterinary Practices?
Many vets have been busier than usual during the pandemic. Part of this was due to precautions taken against the spread of COVID-19, but the increase in pet ownership has also led to an increase in work. As the pandemic winds down, many of the precautions against the coronavirus may not need to stay, but the millions of adopted pets likely will.
If you have a preferred vet, it’s a good idea to book regular checkups and vaccinations in advance. It’s also a good idea to take advantage of any telemedicine services your vet may offer so that you can determine ahead of time if your pet requires emergency care or not.