Survey: 6 in 10 say their pets are acting differently during coronavirus pandemic

NEW YORK — They’re our constant companions and, during the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey finds most pet owners can’t get by without them. As quarantines around the United States continue, 72 percent of Americans say they could not get through the isolation without their pet’s company.

The poll of 2,000 cat and dog owners finds pets have been one of the constant bright spots during a very turbulent year. More than four in five respondents (81%) say they’ve grown even closer to their pets during the rockiest part of their COVID-19 quarantine.

The survey finds humans aren’t the only ones affected by isolation however, adding six in 10 people report their furry friends are also acting differently. Over a quarter say their pet’s behavior is actually improving during quarantine, while 17 percent feel their behavior is getting worse.

The study, commissioned by Zoetis Petcare, finds 36 percent of pets much more active throughout the pandemic, 31 percent are acting more needy, and 26 percent are acting more curious than usual. Concerningly, 27 percent of pet owners say their companions are struggling to go up and down stairs during quarantine.

What happens when pet owners go back to work?

Many pet owners are already pondering how their beloved friends will react when lockdowns end and more Americans can go back to work. Researchers find over half the poll are planning to make changes that put their pets first. Fifty-six percent say they will lessen their social activities and stay home more often since their pets are used to seeing them regularly.

Over 40 percent of Americans plan to keep working from home after the pandemic ends and more than a third say they’ll be taking their pets with them whenever they go outside. Another 17 percent are looking to adopt another cat or dog so their pet won’t be home alone.

Pet adoptions surging during the pandemic

Zoetis Petcare says COVID-19 quarantines are having one positive outcome: more people want a pet to take care of. While this is great for animals who need good homes, experts say it’s important pet owners make sure their new friends get the attention they need in their new environment.

“We’ve seen an overwhelming number of pet adoptions over the past several months, and whether you’re an experienced pet owner or new pet owner, it’s important to get to know your pets’ behaviors and be aware of environmental changes that may impact them,” Daniel Edge, the director of Medical Affairs for Zoetis Petcare says in a statement.

“Whether you’re spending more time at home, or there’s added noise outside, temperature spikes or other changes in the environment or home schedule, there are easy ways you can make sure you and your pet have the best experiences together right from the very first day you bring your pet home.”

Rewarding their loyal friends

When COVID-19 is finally over, most Americans agree on one thing — their pets deserve a big thank you. Three-quarters of the poll say their pets deserve the best veterinary care for being there for them during isolation. Three in four also plan to take their pets to the vet for a full check-up after quarantine.

Over 70 percent say they’re already taking better care of their pets than ever before. This includes more treats, more walks, and more pets and cuddles for these unsung heroes.

The survey was conducted by OnePoll.

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