The Impact of Covid-19 on Pet Ownership

What was the impact of Covid-19 on pet ownership?

Without a doubt, this worldwide pandemic has had a devastating effect on individuals’ lives. Some have lost family members, friends, or colleagues or were separated from loved ones due to lockdown. While some lost their jobs, others were forced to work from home to try and stop the spread of the virus. Livelihoods were threatened and schools were closed, disrupting education.

As the pandemic is about to end, the economic and social impact has become progressively evident.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Pet Ownership – The Good and The Bad

Since the onset of Covid-19, there has been an unparalleled upsurge in animal purchases and adoptions, as pets provide invaluable companionship to keep feelings of anxiety and isolation at bay. Unfortunately, this increased level of interest in animal sales has led to damaging consequences for the welfare of pets being bought, sold, and bred.

There were concerns over increased abandonment, relinquishment and rehoming of pets due to owners not being able to take care of their pets because of financial struggles or no longer having the time to care for them after going back to work. Pet ownership is serious business and a lifelong commitment.

What is The Positive Impact of Covid-19 on Pet Ownership?

To date, evidence reveals that animal interaction can provide various benefits on both physical and mental health – even though it is not completely evident what is causing such benefits.

1. Physical activity

Studies have revealed that pet ownership might encourage physical activity, which is especially relevant for horse and dog owners. Pet owners often engage in more mild-intensity activities as opposed to non-pet owners.

2. Boosted Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

Owning a pet might also be advantageous for mental wellbeing and health because of the invaluable companionship offered by an animal. Pet attachment and ownership is crucial to promoting mental and physical health during lockdown.  In one study performed by Drs Emily Shoesmith and Elena Ratschen with 5926 participants, they found ninety percent of pet owners said that their pets helped them to cope better on an emotional level during isolation and the  lockdown period. K

Pet owners were reported to have worse mental health prior to lockdown as opposed to non-pet owners, which indicates vaster vulnerability. However, pet owners display fewer mental health deterioration and feelings of isolation during the lockdown. This might reveal that animals have a shielding impact on owners’ mental state. Remarkably, feelings of closeness to pets did not differ substantially by animal species.

3. Providing Motivation and Positivity During Trying Times

More analysis revealed that pet owners experienced a sense of connectedness and companionship which offered a welcome distraction from stress and worries associated with the pandemic. Pets can be a source of motivation during trying times.

What is The Negative Impact of Covid-19 on Pet Ownership?

Although pet ownership can positively impact a person’s mental wellbeing, it can also worsen mental health symptoms for some people. For example, they may experience extreme worry and feelings of guilt, particularly in those that are strongly attached to their pets. Some pet ownerships had concerns about restricted veterinary care, financial hardships, and what would happen if their beloved pets got ill.

Certain individuals’ decisions were influenced by their pets especially in terms of healthcare. Some pet owners delayed medical assistance due to concern over their animal’s welfare if they couldn’t find proper care for their pets. Some people would forgo health visits to avoid being separated from their pets.

It all depends on the restrictions that are in place. For instance, if pet owners cannot take their dog for a walk as regularly or as long as they would prefer. Horse owners might find it challenging to care for their animals or exercise them.

Final Thoughts

The impact of Covid-19 on pet ownership is undeniable, both good and bad. For most, having a pet provides them with the solace and companionship they need during these difficult times. Based on several studies, pet ownership was linked to higher physical activity levels and enhanced mental health. The findings suggest that owning a pet is advantageous for mental and physical well being during times of social distancing amidst a worldwide pandemic. 


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