Even in a year as unpredictable as 2020, pets remain a bright spot in our lives. That’s why more than 11 million households welcomed a new pet during the pandemic. The main reason cited for getting a new pet is companionship, according to 58% of owners in a new report by Better Cities for Pets.
The report, titled “Better Cities for Pets Program Report: Pets in a Pandemic,” utilized several first-party surveys and the Wisdom Panel 2020 Pet Census.
"The pandemic has affected all parts of our lives, including our family dynamics, as millions have shifted to working from home and new household routines, including our four-legged friends," said Jam Stewart, vice president of corporate Affairs at Mars Petcare. "Through the Pets in a Pandemic report we took an in-depth look at how the pandemic has impacted pet owners and their relationships with their pets.”
Survey results show that one of the biggest benefits of working from home due to COVID-19 has been increased quality time with pets (50% of respondents), out-ranking casual dress (48%), no commuting costs (47%) and even more time with family (36%).
Of course, not all of the pandemic’s impacts have been positive for pet parents. Three in four working pet parents (75%) said now that they’ve spent more time at home, they’re worried about leaving pets when they return to the workplace.
Many pet parents have also faced financial hardships during the pandemic. In fact, 61% said they felt concerned about their ability to afford their pets’ expenses, and one in five pet owners (20%) have considered giving up their pets this year, with 13% actually doing so.
Of those who thought about relinquishing their pet in 2020, 31% said access to pet-friendly housing resources would be alleviate some of the strain. Another 32% said short-term financial support, and 30% said more access to pet services or support would be helpful.
You can read the entire report and its findings here.