COVID-19 and the Human-Animal Bond


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A recent study examined the human-animal bond amid a pandemic.

A new study from Banfield Pet Hospital® examined how weeks of increased time spent at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic affected pets and their owners. As a result of the stay-at-home orders, key findings reveal 84% of owners feel more attuned to their pet’s health and 67% plan to make changes to how they care for their pet.

“The human-animal bond now, more than ever, plays an integral role in people’s lives,” said Molly McAllister, chief medical officer at Banfield Pet Hospital. “At Banfield, we are firm believers that regular preventive veterinary care is key to helping our pets live happy, healthy lives. This survey shows that pets are always here for us – even, and especially, during the most difficult of times – and we’re encouraged that as a result of spending more time together, people are committed to finding new ways to better be there for their pets.”

Other findings of the survey include:

  • As people are spending more time at home than ever before, 20% say they prefer working alongside their pets over their co-workers.
  • With some states easing stay-at-home orders, 73% of people were concerned about going back to the office and spending time away from their pets, with 59% worried their dog or cat may suffer from separation anxiety once their new work schedule begins.
  • 67% of pet owners expect to make changes in how they care for their pet once they’re not home as often.
  • 47% of people are committed to spending more quality time with their pets when they are home,
  • 21% will adjust their schedule to be at home with their pets more often
  • 10% plan to adopt another pet to help keep their dog or cat company.
  • 45% shared that their household’s happiness has increased while spending more time with their pet during quarantine, with 39% revealing their pet helped lower their anxiety and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.
  • 47% of millennials found increased emotional support from their pets, compared to 43% of Gen Zers and 43% of Gen Xers.
  • With owners spending more one-on-one time with their pets, 33% of people feel more attuned to their dog or cat now than before the pandemic began. That said, one-third of owners believe their pets appear to be happier (38%) and more playful (35%) during this time.
  • Pets are also receiving extra “TLC,” with 65% of owners showing them increased affection. They might be getting extra treats as well, as 33% of owners say their pet has gained weight during quarantine.
  • 20% of pet owners are committed to taking their pets to the veterinarian for preventive care check-ups more often after the pandemic than before, and 41% contacted their veterinarian during quarantine, whether in person, via phone, or through a telehealth service.

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