Industry professionals have been wondering if those who adopted dogs and cats during the COVID-19 pandemic would end up rehoming their pets or keep them as members of their household. Questions started arising after “alarmist headlines” were tied to regional reports of a surge in owner surrenders, however, this trend is not currently evident on a national level, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
“This incredibly stressful period motivated many people to foster and adopt animals, as well as further cherish the pets already in their lives, and our recent research shows no significant risk of animals being rehomed by their owners now or in the near future as a result of the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions,” said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. “Pets are still providing their families with joy and comfort, regardless of changes in circumstances, and loving owners continue to recognize and appreciate the essential role pets play in their lives.”
ASPCA’s data stems from a nationally representative poll of 5,020 respondents confirming that close to one in five households acquired a cat or dog since the beginning of the pandemic, which would account for about 23 million American households based on the 2019 U.S. Census.
The vast majority of these households still have that pet in the home—90 percent for dogs and 85 percent for cats—and are not considering rehoming their pet in the near future, according to officials.
“As COVID-19 restrictions continue to be lifted across the country, the majority of surveyed pet owners are incorporating pets into their lifestyles with little reported concern about having enough time to spend with their pet or wanting to travel more but feeling limited by an animal,” officials said. “Although some pet owners expressed general concerns, 87 percent of respondents shared that they are not considering rehoming their animal, suggesting that pet owners remain committed to caring for their cats and dogs.”
For more of PPN’s coverage how the pandemic is affecting the pet industry, read: