Pet Adoptions and Attachments Increase During the Pandemic
Take a look outside your window. Are you seeing some unfamiliar canine faces? Is the parade of pups getting longer out there? That wouldn’t be surprising since, according to the American Pet Products Association, 11.38 million U.S. households invited new pets into their lives since the global pandemic shut down social spots and found us seeking safety inside our homes (1). A new pet study conducted by Money.com, in cooperation with leading research firm Morning Consult, digs into the reasons behind the sudden boom in pet ownership, with some fascinating results.
Emotions are Driving the Surge
Family gatherings have been canceled. Offices have closed, creating a new remote workforce that operates via email and Zoom meetings. Money.com found that all that isolation has led people of all ages to jump into pet ownership, with the GenX and millennial generations leading in new pet acquisition. More than half of survey respondents cited loneliness as their motivation for adopting or purchasing a pet during the pandemic.
The amount of time we’re routinely spending at home was also influential in their decision to seek animal companionship: 72% of respondents reported that they’d always wanted a pet and the pandemic finally created the right circumstances. It’s a delightful revelation: despite the difficult circumstances we’ve been living under, more people are realizing at least one long-held dream.
Pet shelters experienced an unprecedented shortage of pets. Purebred breeders’ waiting lists got longer. But wherever they came from, more pets have found homes as a result of the coronavirus crisis—a break in the clouds that have otherwise cloaked the globe since early winter of last year.
Attitudes Toward Pet Spending Reflect our Emotions
While Money.com’s research found that pet parents aren’t necessarily spoiling their pets—pet supply purchases held pretty steady—our deepening attachment may be behind a greater willingness to spend more on healthcare for them.
How’s this for love? Nearly 70% of the study’s subjects said they’d be willing to spend any amount of money to give their pets life-saving treatment.
And pet parents aren’t just willing to spend on life-saving care. They’re keeping up with recommended wellness visits and vaccinations, too. Money.com’s survey found that 75% of pet parents report visiting their vets at least once a year. The past decade’s steady increase in the number of pets who are covered by pet insurance is expected to continue, with analysts predicting double-digit growth in the pet insurance category this year.
The AKC estimates that the lifetime cost of owning a medium-size dog averages $15,000 (2). You’ll spend less if you raise a cat, but not as little as you might think. That’s because cats live longer than dogs. (Keep yours inside and he or she could well live to be 14 years or older!)
Veterinary care comprises the greatest percentage of pet-related expenses.
The money.com poll shows that most pet parents see their vet as a trusted partner, and they will follow their recommended treatment advice. More pet parents are learning that, from allergy medicines to repairing broken bones to emergency care, pet insurance can make all kinds of veterinary care more affordable. You can learn more about SPOT Insurance coverage, compare policy options, and find a plan that suits your budget here.
And You Thought You Couldn’t Love Your Pet More?
It turns out that many pet parents found that, indeed, they can. More than half of survey respondents said they feel more love and show their pets more attention since they’ve been spending more time with them. How about you? Has the bond with your four-legged buddy grown deeper as a result of spending more time together? That shouldn’t surprise us, either. Pets and pet parents are getting to know each other more intimately. And as many pet parents have observed—probably since the dawn of time—to know them is to love them.
A Money.com report by Paul Reynolds. For the full report, please see “Pets and Pet Spending During the Pandemic: A Money.com-Morning Consult Report."
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