More Than Half of Americans Adopted Pets During the Pandemic Because of Loneliness, Survey Says
A new survey tells us what many of us already knew in our hearts: We've grown to love our pets more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The survey, which was conducted by Money.com and Morning Consult, questioned 1,384 American pet owners. The respondents were interviewed from March 5–8, roughly a week before the one-year anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic.
They found out whether we love our pets more, why we decided to adopt our pandemic pets, and how much we'd pay to keep our fur babies healthy. Here are some of the key findings from Money.com:
Americans Cherish Our Pets More
According to the survey, 58 percent of Americans said they value their pet more than they did before the pandemic. Eleven percent said they didn't know, while 31 percent said they didn't value their pet more than before. (We're just going to assume those folks loved their pets so much pre-coronavirus that it's impossible for them to love them more.)
Relatedly, half of the pet owners interviewed said they are more affectionate to their pets than they were before COVID-19 reared its ugly head.
Why Did We Adopt More Pets? 4 Leading Factors
Pet adoption rates have exploded across the country during the pandemic, but what was behind the decision? The poll identified three main factors:
- 72 percent of the people interviewed said they had always wanted a pet.
- 68 percent said they adopted because they’re spending more time at home.
- 67 percent said they had more free time to spend with a pet—going hand-in-hand with spending more time at home.
- 52 percent said they were lonely.
In short, the pandemic was the perfect storm for adopters who were lonely and bored at home—where they were stuck almost exclusively—and had always wanted a pet.
Over One-Third of New Pets Came From Shelters
Local shelters benefited most from the onset of the pandemic, according to the survey. Of the people who adopted new pets after March 2020, 37 percent said they turned to a shelter. Breeders gave 20 percent of the respondents their new pets.
Another 17 percent said they got their new pets as gifts, while 16 percent went to pet stores—a practice we strongly recommend against due to the practice of sourcing of pet store dogs from puppy mills. Twenty-eight percent answered "other."
More good news: The adoption fees for the new pets were also relatively low: 36 percent paid fewer than $100; 26 percent paid $101–$300; 12 percent paid $301–$500; 8 percent paid $501–$800; 7 percent paid $801–$1,000; and 8 percent paid more than $1,000.
Majority of Parents Spend $100 or Fewer on Their Pets Monthly
This one surprised us a little. According to the survey, 40 percent of Americans said they spend $50 or fewer on their pets each month. Another 31 percent said they spend between $51 and $100. To flesh it all out, 11 percent hit the $101–$150 range, 7 percent fall in at $151–$200, and 3 percent go more than $200 per month.
Good for that 71 percent of folks who fall under $101 per month because when you take all the costs into account—food, veterinarian care, grooming, toys, pet rent, pet insurance—owning dogs and cats can get expensive quickly!
RELATED: What Does Owning a Dog Really Cost?
Most Pet Owners Trust Their Vets
When asked if they trust their veterinarian "to only recommend critical treatments" for their pets, 74 percent said they do. Twelve percent said they had no opinion, but 14 percent said they didn't trust their vets. To those folks: might be time to find a new vet!
Another 68 percent of respondents said they would pay for any treatment their vet recommends for their pet—no matter how old the pet is.
Some Would Spend Anything to Save Their Pets
Pet parents will do just about anything to keep their pets happy and healthy. The poll shows that 82 percent of the respondents would pay anything they could afford to save their pets. Somehow, 9 percent said no to that.
Most impressive—and heartwarming—however, was the fact that 67 percent of the pet owners interviewed would "take any measure" to save their pet—regardless of the cost.
As if we needed more proof that our pets are really our family.