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Pet Ownership Soars Amidst Pandemic

A number of population surveys have indicated a rise in pet ownership over the last year. Propelled by lockdown limitations and isolation, pet ownership has soared. The benefits of pet ownership have become apparent, but how will our new friends cope when life returns to normal?

The National Poll on Healthy Ageing (NPHA) is a recurring household survey of American adults aged between 50-80 and their families. The poll is supported by Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan. The survey covers various aspects of health and life.

The latest poll revealed that between March 2020 and January 2021, 10% of respondents had got a new pet. In households with children or teens, there was a 16% increase in pet ownership. A total of 59% of respondents indicated they owned a pet.

Back over here in the UK, we have also seen a surge in pet ownership. The Pet Food Manufacturer’s Association indicated an additional 3.2 million households now own a pet. This increase has been observed since the start of lockdown. This takes the total number of UK households owning a pet to 17 million.

Positive Benefits of Owning a Pet

The participants in the NPHA study indicated a number of positive perceived benefits from pet ownership.

Pet owners said that their pets help them enjoy life (88%), make them feel loved (86%), reduce stress (79%), provide a sense of purpose (73%) and help them stick to a routine (62%).

Respondents also reported that their pets connect them with other people (65%), help them be physically active (64%) and help them cope with physical and emotional symptoms of poor health (60%).

In the UK, an encouraging 74% of pet owners saying pets improve their mental well-being. At a time when mental health is pushed to the limits due to isolation, this is a very welcoming result.

How Will New Pets Cope When Normality Returns?

Many of the pets that have found new homes during lockdown will be enjoying the luxury of having their owners around all day. As people begin to move back to normality, returning to work and other daily errands, these new pets are going to be spending much more time alone.

Having never know anything different to their current situation, there is some concern over how lockdown pets will cope when life returns to normal. Even pets that have been with their owners before the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 could experience distress when their owners go back to their old routines.

With the end of lockdown on the horizon, now is a perfect time to begin training your pets for normal life. Consider key areas such as separation, having different people in the house and meeting new pets or people.

Have You Got a New Pet During Lockdown?

Have you got a new pet during lockdown? What kind of pet did you buy or adopt? What kind of positive benefits has your new pet given you or your family during lockdown? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Photo by Chewy on Unsplash


About James Watts

BSc Bioveterinary Science. Editor of PetSci. When I'm not writing, learning, discussing, or reading about animals, you know it's the weekend! Currently developing PetSci HealthTrak, the fast and easy way to monitor your pet's weight and calorie intake. HealthTrak offers a simple way to track your pet's progress, helping them achieve a healthy weight and a long, happy life.

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