Quarantining during the coronavirus pandemic has given people more time to bond with their pets. In fact, a majority of pet owners plan to make changes to the way they care for their pets thanks to what they learned during the crisis.
A survey by veterinary care provider Banfield Pet Hospital — which operates more than 1,000 veterinary hospitals across the U.S. and Puerto Rico — shed light on the impact the coronavirus has had on the relationship between remote workers and their pets. With workers who normally go to the office staying home, many have gained more insight into their pets’ habits and well-being.
Most survey respondents (84%) said they have a better understanding of the health of their pets, and 67% are planning new care procedures as a result.
Adjusting to an evolving ‘normal’
For many consumers, workdays have been far from routine. Those who work from home have had to adjust to being away from co-workers and maintaining productivity despite personal distractions.
While some remote workers have found it difficult to work from home, others have discovered they prefer their home surroundings. In fact, 20% of respondents to the Banfield survey said they prefer working with their pets by their side over an office setting with co-workers.
An earlier survey suggested that the COVID-19 pandemic has made many Americans more aware of the state of their mental health. Nearly half of the Banfield respondents (45%) said spending more time with their pet during quarantine contributed to their household’s happiness, and 39% said their pet helped lower their coronavirus-related anxiety.
A third of respondents (33%) said they feel more attuned to their pet now than before the pandemic, while 47% are talking to their pets more than before the pandemic. Respondents also believe their pets are benefiting:
- 38% believe their pets are happier than before the pandemic
- 35% believe their pets are now more playful
Planning the return to the office
With pet owners seeing their pets positively impacted by the quarantine, nearly three-fourths (73%) are concerned about how their return to the office may affect their fur babies. If fact, 59% are concerned their dog or cat may experience separation anxiety once they return to work.
Some have come up with plans to try to make up for their more frequent absences:
- 47% said they’ll spend more quality time with their pets when they’re home
- 21% said they’ll adjust their schedule so they can be home more often with their pets
- 10% said they’ll adopt another pet so the animals have company
Some pet owners say they’ve become more proactive about preventive health practices:
- 44% said they feel more responsible and attentive toward their pet
- 42% are giving their pet more exercise than before
- 37% said they’re more aware of their pet’s personal care, such as dental health
- 20% are planning to take their pets to the veterinarian more often for preventive care checkups
Methodology: Wakefield Research surveyed 1,000 dog and cat owners on behalf of Vancouver, Wash.-based Banfield Pet Hospital. The survey was completed May 11 to 15.