Majority of pets acquired during pandemic remain with families: ASPCA survey

Pet pandemic adoption

Many people have adopted pets during the pandemic.

NEW YORK —  Millions of people in the United States added a cat or dog into their families during the pandemic, and a recent survey released by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) showed a majority of them remain in their homes. 

About 1 in 5 American households– approximately 23 million households– acquired a pet between March 2020 and May 2021, according to the ASPCA. 

Despite alarming reports of owners surrendering their pets, the ASPCA survey showed a majority of people who got a pet within the past 14 months still have their furry friend at home with them.

According to the survey, 90% of households who acquired a dog during the pandemic still have the pet in the home while 85% of households who acquired a cat still have them.

“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, ASPCA President and CEO. “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.”

With many COVID-19 restrictions lifted across the country, many pet owners surveyed said they plan to incorporate their animals into their lifestyles. Only a small percentage of pet parents were worried about feeling limited to traveling because of their animal or not having as much time to care for them or spend time with them.

Though other concerns, including financial security and affording pet care, were on pet owners’ minds, 87% of current owners would not reconsider rehoming their pet in the near future, or within the next three months. 

The ASPCA understands there are various reasons why families can no longer keep a pet and encourages owners who are considering rehoming to ask for support from a friend or neighbor or to reach out to a shelter or rescue organization in their area for assistance. 

Pet parents returning to work in the office may also worry about their pet having separation anxiety. The ASPCA offered several tips to help with transitioning. 

Best Friends Animal Society also spoke with PIX11 News to break down how to avoid potential issues with returning to work and how to prepare their pets for the return to the office. 

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