Pets and the Pandemic: A social research snapshot of pets and people in the COVID-19 era

Animal Medicines Australia (AMA) has published a new study, Pets and the Pandemic, that sheds light on how the pandemic has changed our relationships with our pets and their carers

Animal health industry leader Animal Medicines Australia (AMA) has published a new study, Pets and the Pandemic, that sheds light on how the pandemic has changed our relationships with our pets and the people who help care for them.

As the report reveals pet ownership at record levels, the AMA urges policy makers to consider the needs of companion animals and their owners.

“This should range from rental, strata and body corporate regulations to animals in public places, transport access and holiday accommodation,” says Lance Williams, AMA President.

In the Pets and the Pandemic report, the research indicates the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions may have created an opportunity for Australians to introduce a previously desired pet into the family, rather than the pandemic being the reason itself for acquiring a pet. For instance, working from home arrangements have provided the opportunity to spend time with a young pet.

The research also reveals that the early anecdotal reports accurately reflect the biggest boom Australia has seen in pet ownership. In a time of significant uncertainty and reduced social interaction, Aussies have turned to pet ownership as a source of comfort and joy.

This report, a supplement to Animal Medicines Australia’s triennial report, includes overall pet population data as well as information specifically focused on cats and dogs based on a quantitative survey and qualitative research.

Owners said that pets had a positive impact on their lives throughout the pandemic because they provided joy, comfort and were good for mental health. The smaller number of negative experiences reported were associated with things like restricted walking times, worrying that their pet could catch COVID-19 or having their pet pass away.

The pandemic also showed that pet animal welfare must be explicitly protected as an essential service/activity.

“Our pets bring so much love and joy to our lives; it is our responsibility in turn to provide them with the best health, care and environment we possibly can,” says Mr Williams.

Download the full report here.

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