While the last year has been full of bad news, there has been one positive trend to come out of 2020 – the increase in pet ownership. According to one report, approximately half (49%) of Americans said they added a new pet to their family in 2020.
First, the term “pandemic puppies” isn’t entirely accurate. Of the families who got a pet last year, 53% brought home a dog, 32% a cat and 14% got both. The majority of pet parents (64%) adopted their new fur babies with 40% doing so from a rescue or non-profit and 24% from another family. Just over a quarter (26%) purchased a cat or dog from a breeder.
Millennials make up the majority of recent pet owners, thanks in large part to new work-from-home policies. Most pet parents who adopted during the pandemic (66%) already had a cat or dog at home. However, 13% were brand new to pet ownership.
The two most popular reasons cited for getting a new pet during the pandemic were for emotional support and happiness (41%) and the need for something positive in their life (39%).
Luckily, these bets seem to have been well placed with 90% of pet owners stating that they are happy with their decision to get a “pandemic pet.” The majority of survey respondents (93%) also said their “pandemic pet” improved their mental health and/or physical well-being in the last year. Over 80% said their pet made spending so much time at home more enjoyable.