Survey reveals an estimated 3 million pets joined Canadian homes during pandemic

Pet Valu reveals results of survey of Canadian household and pet ownership.

As Canadian pet owners prepare to celebrate National Love Your Pet Day on February 20, indications are the celebration will be even bigger this year. According to a recent national survey, conducted by Narrative Research on behalf of Pet Valu, one third of Canadian pet owners have welcomed a new pet into their home since the start of the pandemic, representing an estimated three million pets. The survey also revealed that more than a third (35%) of pet owners welcome their pets to sleep in their beds. Perhaps one of the most interesting findings was how much pet ownership and pet choices differ across Canada.

"Every day our animal care experts help devoted pet lovers support their pets through various life stages, celebrating special days like National Love Your Pet Day alongside them," says Tanbir Grover, chief marketing and digital officer of Pet Valu. "We commissioned a national study to understand the pandemic's effect on pet adoption so we can continue to provide the products and expertise pet owners need. We were intrigued by some of the results, particularly the regional differences."

The comprehensive online survey of 2,000 Canadians, conducted in November 2021, revealed:

  • Pet owners living in Ontario (37%) and BC/Northern Canada (36%), were more likely to add a new pet to their home during the pandemic than those living in Atlantic Canada (19%).
  • Although fewer Atlantic Canadians added pets to their home in the past two years, people living in Atlantic Canada are more likely to already own a pet (61%) compared to those in Ontario (53%), Quebec (53%), BC/Northern Canada (54%) and the Prairies (58%).
  • Atlantic Canadians and Ontarian pet owners are also most likely to own multiple pets with six in ten in Atlantic Canada having two or more pets (58%), compared with over half in Ontario (53%), half in BC/Northern Canada (48%) and four in 10 in Quebec (42%).

"Having heard so many anecdotal stories about pet adoption during the pandemic, we were curious to validate if pet ownership was in fact growing and were fascinated to see how such a large proportion of Canadians opened their homes to pets. It's really interesting to see how things vary across the country as well," says Margaret Chapman, COO & partner at Narrative Research.

Dogs and cats continue to be the most popular pet choice across Canada; however, the regional differences continue.

  •  In Quebec pet owners are more likely to have cats (67%) compared to dogs (48%), while in the prairies and BC/Northern Canada, the reverse is true. In the prairies and BC/Northern Canada one-half (51%) of pet owners have cats compared to two-thirds with dogs (66% and 65% respectively). In Atlantic Canada and Ontario, the split between dog and cat owners is more even.
  • Pet sleeping arrangements vary across Canada too. In Atlantic Canada pets are more likely to sleep in bed with their family member (42%), compared to pet owners in BC /Northern Canada (36%) and Ontario (30%).
  • Pet beds are a more popular sleeping spot in BC /Northern Canada (36%) and Ontario (33%) as compared to in Atlantic Canada (25%).

About the survey

The survey was conducted online November 15-17, 2021, with 2,000 Canadians 18 years of age or older from the Logit Group's Canadian Omnibus. Results were analyzed by Narrative Research. Data was weighted based on the 2016 Census, by gender, age, and region to reflect these population characteristics in each province.


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