A record number of Americans have turned to pandemic pets to ride out the uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak, leaving some businesses and shelters overwhelmed due to the demand.
With the rise in new pet owners has come a demand for veterinary, grooming, and training services for the millions of new animals being adopted during the pandemic that some businesses are struggling to keep up with.
“Our training and our grooming is getting overwhelmed with demand,” Petco CEO Ron Coughlin said to Bloomberg. “Our vet hospitals and our vet clinics are having more and more demand as people feel more comfortable coming out."
Coughlin said that there were 11 million new pets in 2020, the majority of which were adopted by millennials and Get Zers, leaving some shelters and breeders facing a shortage of pets, specifically dogs, as “pandemic puppies” became a popular source of comfort for pet owners.
According to Rover.com, which polled 1,000 pet owners, 13 percent said their new pet is their only animal, compared to 66 percent who already had a cat or dog in their home when they adopted a pet in the past 12 months.
Of those polled, 53 percent got a dog, 32 percent took in a dog and cat, and 14 percent adopted a dog and a cat. Just 26 percent got their animals from breeders, while 64 percent adopted from a nonprofit, rescue group, or another family.
The poll found that 93 percent of people said their pandemic pet improved their mental or physical wellbeing, and 80 percent said that it made working from home and being home during the pandemic more enjoyable.
“If this survey proves anything, it’s that our pets helped us through the most challenging of times,” rover.com pollsters stated. “In fact, over 90 percent of pet owners are still completely happy with their decision to get a ‘pandemic pet. As long as we continue to cherish and nurture our bond with them, they’ll be there for us during tough times again.”
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