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Pets, People, and the Pandemic: The News in Numbers

Written By
4 min read

Updated - Apr 30th, 2021

Have you been hugging your feline friend a little tighter lately? Do you feel like you and your pup are closer than ever? A new Money.com study, recently published on the leading consumer finance media website, confirms that you’re not alone. 

Money.com surveyed over 1300 pet parents to find out how the global pandemic has changed their feelings and behavior towards their animal companions. Almost 60% of survey respondents reported that they cherish their pets more now than they did pre-pandemic, according to one heartwarming statistic from this comprehensive study. Apparently, lockdown breeds love!

Previous research into pets and the pandemic found that new pet ownership, whether through shelter adoptions or breeder and pet shop sales, has surged during the pandemic. The American Pet Products Association reports that 11.38 million US households gained a pet since the pandemic caused us to limit social engagements and hunker down in the safety of our homes. The social isolation we’ve all been feeling has people turning to pets for company and comfort. All those new pet owners are on to something you’ve probably known for a long time: Pets have a way of making even the most difficult experiences easier. According to Money.com, more than half of survey respondents said that loneliness was the reason they decided to bring home a new furry friend. And no matter where they found companionship, 95% of pet parents surveyed reported that finding the perfect pet was satisfying and hassle-free. Paul Reynolds, who authored Money.com’s summary of their survey findings noted, “With so much demand for new animal companions, we might have expected that pet sources were straining to provide a good buying experience. But that wasn’t the case. We found an extraordinary satisfaction rate among new pet owners—a level of positivity that is rare for any purchase.”

Among survey respondents who weren’t primarily motivated by loneliness, more than 70% of those interviewed for the study stated they’d always wanted a pet. With offices across the country closed and more employees than ever working from home, the pandemic proved to be that extra push people needed to finally find a four-legged friend. Almost the same number cited having more time at home and more free time in general as the reason for plunging into pet parenthood. Within the nightmare created by COVID-19, more people are making their dreams come true – news that will make animal lovers of all kinds smile.

Money.com also wanted to learn how pet owners’ spending habits might have changed during the pandemic. Did all that extra love translate into extra spending? Apparently not. We may be spoiling our pets a bit more, but we’re not doing it with biscuits and catnip. (Spending on pet supplies has held steady since the onset of the pandemic; though of course, we’re shopping online more frequently out of precaution and convenience.) No, instead we’re showing our love with snuggles and scratches. About half of all survey respondents admitted to being even more affectionate towards their pets during the pandemic. 

Money.com found that steady spending has been good for pet’s health. Pet parents reported keeping up with routine vet visits and vaccinations. Three quarters said that they take their pets in for a check-up at least annually. Purebred pets saw the vet more frequently than that. Even as people neglected to keep up with their own health appointments, they made sure their animal companions were well cared for.

Money.com also found that many pet owners would sacrifice their own financial well-being in exchange for keeping their companions safely by their sides. When asked if they would take any measure, despite the cost, to provide life-saving medical treatment for their pets, 67% of survey respondents said they would. 

But decisions around pet health care need not be that difficult. About one out of ten pet parents surveyed are hedging against the expense of providing high-quality veterinary care by carrying pet health insurance. They’re resting easier, knowing they can afford veterinary care even under the most serious circumstances. And overall, awareness about pet insurance is growing. Money.com found that 56% of pet parents had some knowledge of pet insurance. About three-quarters of those who were familiar with pet insurance had a basic understanding of how pet insurance works. 

But Pumpkin and other pet insurance providers still have some work to do, because misconceptions about pet health insurance do persist. That’s why we make our policies easy-to-understand and encourage pet parents to customize their plans to suit their budgets. And it’s why we write articles like this – to keep pet parents up to date on the pet news they’re interested in and to explain the true value of pet insurance. It makes pet ownership more affordable, of course, but it’s also worth its weight when it comes to peace of mind.

Passionate Pet Experts & Parents
We are a team of writers, designers & product developers who all double as passionate (ok, obsessive) nerds of the pet world.