Adoptions up in response to lockdowns
“We cleared the shelter!” That was the joyous message shared by Riverside County Animal Services this spring when all of its animals were adopted.
And that happy news has been repeated time and again at shelters throughout the state and nation as people log on, call in, then show up in droves to bring animals home.
The human health and wellness benefits of pet parenthood have long been considered beyond compare. But those many pet benefits have come into clearer focus as people cope with pandemic loneliness, anxiety, and physical distancing.
Referencing the Great Recession’s solid pet ownership and spending statistics even in the face of fiscal downturns, trade publication PetFoodIndustry.com’s latest pet-market outlook noted “the possibility that pet adoption and ownership will surge during the [coronavirus] crisis and its aftermath, and there is historical precedent for pet adoption during times of emotional and economic stress.”
The outlook’s April 28-May 5 survey found:
- Among adults overall, 8% reported having adopted a pet specifically because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting stay-at-home period.
- By type of pet among current pet owners, 9% of dog owners adopted a pet specifically because of the pandemic, compared with 10% of cat owners, and 13% of those with other types of pets (including birds, small mammals, and reptiles).
- While 8% of adults overall adopted a pet because of COVID-19, that rate spikes to 19% among those with children under the age of 6 in the household, and rises to 10-11% among those with children between 6-17 years old at home.
- Pet adoption has been heaviest for “other” types of pets, as welcoming new pets like rabbits or lizards is a sign of “pet-rich” households rather than households at the entry level of pet ownership.
However, the same holds true today as in pre-pandemic times: Pet ownership is a long-term emotional and financial commitment, so be sure you and your family understand everything it entails.
If you have any questions about adopting a pet, a pet’s health or well-being, or to see if a particular type of pet is right for you, California’s licensed veterinarians are happy to help. For more information on veterinary services, visit the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Veterinary Medical Board at vmb.ca.gov; to ensure your veterinarian is licensed, visit search.dca.ca.gov.
Related Reading: Additional Options to Treat Pets During COVID-19