The human-pet bond may have strengthened measurably during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. With a survey, American Pet Product Association (APPA) analysts studied how the attitudes of pet owners in the United States had changed as a result of the pandemic. Restrictions on movement and socialization among people seems to have led to greater intimacy with those animals both less likely to spread the virus and sharing living quarters with quarantined Homo sapiens. APPA shared their results in “COVID-19 Pulse Study: Pet Ownership During the Pandemic.” APPA researchers conducted the study’s first wave online during one week in May among 2,006 nationally representative individuals. The analysts conducted a second survey using the same methodology for one week in June, netting 2,008 respondents. The questionnaire surveyed both pet owners and non-pet owners.
Pet ownership attitudes during pandemic statistics
- 72% - Percentage of pet owners, across all demographic groups, who agreed that spending time with their pet helps reduce their stress and increase their sense of well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic
- 70% - Spend more time with their pet while social distancing from others, particularly among younger pet owners.
- <50% - How many pet owners say they are ‘social distancing’ their pets from other people and animals
- 60% - Feel closer/more bonded with their pet because of the extra time spent with their pet, especially among Gen Z, millennials and urban pet owners.
- 39% - Exercise more with their pet during COVID-19, including males, Gen Z, millennials, those in the West, those with young children, those in urban communities, Blacks, Hispanics and those with incomes of US$100K or more
Pandemic influenced pet food spending
With some of the other survey questions, APPA analysts observed that the percentage of people who delayed getting a pet nearly equaled the percentage who reported bringing a new pet into their household. While 7% of respondents said they adopted or bought a new pet, 6% decided to wait.