You know the saying, “there are two sides to every story.” During the height of the pandemic, many of us were relying on our pets, or even acquiring new pets to provide us comfort and brighten our days spent in isolation.
According to a recent CNN Health article, psychologist Harold Herzog who has studied the human-animal connection states, “Higher survival rates, fewer heart attacks, better blood pressure…lower rates of depression and stress levels,” are some of the recorded health benefits of owning a pet.
The waters are still muddied as continued research finds varying degrees of stress on pet owners during the pandemic. Socioeconomic status and other stressors seem to have the biggest impact on the stress levels of owning a pet.
LOWER STRESS LEVELS
For some of us, pet ownership during the pandemic, lessened our stress levels and feelings of isolation:
- Persons living alone could find comfort in having a pet to take care of
- Frequent dog walks provided exercise and fresh air
HIGHER STRESS LEVELS
The pandemic also provided some with increased stress as the home environment changed due to the need for isolation:
- Those struggling to manage with children at home, online learning and working from home
- Financial burdens (the uncertainty surrounding the ability to pay for veterinary care and daily care of their pets)
THE CURRENT STATE OF PANDEMIC PETS
So, this is where the two sides come into play! According to a survey conducted by Forbes, “78% of those surveyed, acquired pets during the pandemic.”
As the world is reopening, most children are back to school and some of us, back to the workplace. There seems to be a divide on how to handle the current landscape of pet ownership; those spending more money on their pets, and those choosing to surrender them.
Increased spending on pets
Odds are, your beloved pets loved every single second of you being secluded with them at home during the pandemic.
According to the same Forbes Advisor article referenced above, “two-thirds of pet owners say they have spent more money on their pets in the last six months than they usually would in order to help the pets adjust to being alone more.”
As mentioned in one of our recent blogs, “No Longer Working from Home? How to Transition You and Your Pets,” we cover a variety of new technologies that can help occupy your pet’s time as you transition back to the office. Including, devices that allow to watch and interact with our pets, remotely!
Additionally, pet owners are spending more money on training. Destructive behaviors, including chewing, barking and crying are on the rise as pets are unhappy with spending time alone.
Post Pandemic Surrender
On a positive note, pet adoptions spiked during the pandemic as many of us looked to owning a pet for comfort, support and companionship.
Sadly, there is a current rise in the number of pets being surrendered to shelters. This may be happening for a variety of reasons; including pet owners going back to the workplace and having no one to care for their pet, and/or the increased financial burden of pet ownership.
According to Global News Canada, “Across Canada, shelters are now overwhelmed by an increasing number of surrendered animals.”
One thing to note, many of the surrendered pets that were acquired during the pandemic, are NOT the ones being brought to shelters. Why, you may ask? Most shelters are quite diligent when it comes to screening potential families looking to adopt. The application and approval process is quite extensive.
So, before you and your dog become a statistic, consider the following as an alternative to surrendering your pet to a shelter:
- Give yourself more time to think about the decision
- Ask friends and family for help
- Consider finding someone to adopt your pet (with meet and greets, of course)
- Find a pet food bank to help with the financial cost of owning a pet
ON A POSITIVE NOTE!
Vet visits during the pandemic were on the rise. As we were spending more and more time with our pets, we were noticing potential medical issues we may have otherwise not noticed, or overlooked.Additionally, now that some of us are back to work, many doggie daycare and dog walking services are fully booked. Thus, contributing more and more to the economy!