2020 will be remembered for a long time as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the lives of billions of people around the globe.
Millions of Americans were also disrupted and forced to spend most of the time in thier homes.
This was one of the rarest incidents ever happened, and people have more than enough time to do anything they wanted — ofcourse from the comfort of their home.
While many involved themselves in home improvements, watching TV, etc., some decided to adopt a pet to spend some quality time in companionship.
This pet adoption trend made headlines all over the country, and people started showing interest in getting a pet. A sudden increase in dog demand was observed as soon as the pandemic began, and the term “pandemic puppies” was coined for the adopted dogs.
Now we’re in the middle of 2021, a year after the devastating Covid-19 happened. Do you think the dog owners who rushed to adopt a pet in 2020 are now happier with their paw companions?
We decided to find out what has changed in the behavior of recent dog owners before and after the pandemic lockdown. So we’ve compared the data from various sources to examine the dog adoption trends in the US.
So let’s dive in the detailed infographic.
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<p><strong>Please include attribution to Improvedogs.com with this graphic.</strong></p><p><a href="https://improvedogs.com/stories/pandemic-puppies/"><img src="https://improvedogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/pandemic-puppies-Trends-2020-vs-2021.svg" alt="Pandemic Puppies Trends: 2020 vs 2021" border="0" /></a></p>
2020 – The Rise In Dog Adoption Trend
Pet adoption turned out to be one of the best things in 2020. Covid-19, led by social distancing and loneliness, drove many people to add cute companions to their homes.
As soon as the WHO declared Covid-19 as a global pandemic, an immediate increase was observed in the pet trends worldwide.
Dog Shelters reported emptied and remained booked for 6-8 months in advance, as people rushed to adopt more and more pets. The top countries which topped the charts for most pet adoption queries are the United States, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and New Zealand.
The category of people who adopted the highest number of dogs are first-time-pet-owners.
Here is the Google Trends data for the year 2020 related to dog adoption search queries:
As we can see, searches for “dogs for adoption”, “dogs for sale”, “puppies for sale” quadrupled in 2020 with the top spike observed in April and May 2020. Similar search trends were observed in UK, Canada and other parts of the world.
According to a survey by TD Ameritrade, 33% of Americans have or consider adopting a pet in the Covid-19 lockdown. The main reason behind this rapid increase of love towards pets came out to be companionship.
- 89% of the American pet owners believed their pets provided them comfort in Covid-19 norms.
- 82% of the American pet owners believed they feel less lonely after adopting a pet in lockdown.
- 7 out of 10 people said, Dogs provided important benefits in the form of companionship (86%), reduced stress or anxiety (78%), reduced boredom (75%) during COVID-19.
The ultimate message: A furry friend would make lockdown a lot less lonely.
US States With Highest Dog Adoption Rates
As per the data collected by Shelters Animal Count in 2020, over 800,000+ dogs were adopted since the beginning of Covid-19. The adoption rate went higher and higher each month, shattering the records of previous years.
54% of the shelter animals got adopted, in which April 2020 witnessed the highest uplift (+32%) in dog adoption rate compared with April 2019.
Almost every US state saw this surge in dog adoption rates in 2020.
Connecticut saw the highest dog adoption rate (92%). That means almost 9 out of 10 dogs that entered animal shelters in Connecticut since the start of the pandemic were adopted.
|US States with the highest dog adoption rates||Dog Adoption Rate|
While New England topped the charts, States such as New Mexico, Alabama, and Louisiana saw the lowest dog adoption rates in 39% to 40%.
Similar trend was observed in other countries like England, Canada, Mexico, etc.
Rising Dog Expenditure In Covid-19
It’s hard to believe that the US pet industry grew to over $99 billion in 2020. That’s an extraordinary rise of $1.5 billion from 2019.
While the leading pet companies made billions of dollars of profit, pet owners reported a major chunk of their funds wiped out on pet care.
Dog owners bought almost everything listed on the market to provide the best care to their new companions. The top expenditure items include dog food, vet care, grooming, supplies, dog training, etc.
The average annual spend on dogs turned out to be $1,201, which was quite a big amount considering job losses, recession, income dent due to the impact of Covid-19.
|Category||Annual Average Expenditure|
|Supplies (Excluding Food)||$109|
2021 – What’s Happening Now?
As we saw the insights of 2020, let us dive into what’s happening in the current year.
Adopting puppies was the talk of the town since the beginning of the pandemic, but some people are realized, owning a dog is not an easy job.
After the Covid-19 vaccine rollout, people started to go back to their offices, and their previous routines became normal. Unfortunately, this created a big problem for pandemic dogs as they were left behind.
Dog owners started seeing behavioral changes in their pets, which made them frustrated. As a result, they considered rehoming and surrendering of their pets.
Animal shelters which saw massive spikes in 2020 for dog adoption enquiries, started receiving requests for dogs returns.
According to PetPoint Industrial data, dog returns/surrenders has increased in 2021 as compared to the same months of 2020.
|Month||Total Surrenders||Change % vs 2020|
These trends were mainly seen in the first-time dog owners, who adopted a pet first time in their life.
Why Dogs Are Being Returned?
As dog owners are spending much lesser time with their pandemic puppies compared to the previous year, their pets are becoming less secure and lonely.
Dog owners complaint about rising aggressive behavior, increased biting in children, anxiety and stress issues in dogs. As a result, the only option they are left with either rehoming or surrendering their pets.
Dog behavioral problems turned out to be only one reason and their are many other reasons as well behind these harsh decisions of pet owners.
Major concerns of dog owners include (for deciding to surrender/rehoming of pets):
- I am worried about my financial security (32%)
- I am worried about veterinary care and costs (25%)
- I am worried about my employment and job security (22%)
- I’d like to travel and I feel limited by my animal (22%)
- I won’t have much time to care for and/or spend with my animal (18%)
- My animal will have behavioral problems as a result of change in my schedule (16%)
- I’m worried that I may not be able to stay in my home (15%)
What Does the Future Hold for Pandemic Puppies?
Despite increased dog surrendering rates in 2021, the story is much happier for dogs and dog lovers.
According to Best Friends Animal Society, While owner surrenders were up 82.6% compared to 2020, they are down by 12.5% vs 2019.
This means there is no significant risk of animals being rehomed by their owners now or sooner.
As per ASPCA, one in five households acquired a cat or dog since the beginning of Covid-19 crisis, which would account for approximately 23 million American households based on the 2019 U.S. Census.
Pets are still providing happiness, companionship and comfort to the families.
90% of the dog owners are not considering to rehome or surrender their pets.
We should be thankful to our pandemic pets, who helped us staying motivated in one of the most stressful periods of our life.
The data points shown in this article are collected from various certified organizations. It includes various “publicly open” survey reports, graphs, and data sets that helped examine the pet industry trends. Proper references have been shared for all the charts/graphs/datasets to deep dive into the study results.
Are you a pandemic dog owner as well? Let’s hope you have an amazing lockdown with your pet and still enjoying the comfort jolliness with your canine.
Smash the comments section, and let us know how was your journey in the Covid-19 pandemic with your beloved pets. Your story can inspire or motivate someone who is still struggling with their pandemic pets.
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