The pandemic will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most challenging periods of the modern world. However, despite the chaos and despair there was a silver lining. One of the well reported trends was the emergence of “pandemic pets”.
Quarantined under stay-at-home orders, people were isolated, looking for companionship, and pet adoption soared as a result. In fact, a January 2021 report from Rover found that nearly half (49%) of Americans said they welcomed a dog into their home during the pandemic.
The data showed that dogs improved our wellbeing and mental health during difficult times, but while the bond between pet parents and their dogs became more clear, new concerns emerged, as well – namely separation anxiety. After an exorbitant amount of time at home with our pets and less socialization due to quarantine, many dogs weren’t accustomed to being alone and struggled when their parents resumed activities outside of home.
Fast forward to today and life has largely returned to normal, with social activities resumed, personal and work travel on the rise and many companies even asking employees to head back into the office. Now that the dust has mostly settled, Rover decided it was time to check in on our pets and our pet parents to see how everyone’s adjusting to life in a post-pandemic world. We surveyed* 1,000 current U.S. dog owners (that also had a dog during the pandemic), here are some of the results:
Pandemic Pups are thriving today. Our dogs are less anxious, happier and even more valued in our “new normal”.
- Forty two percent of pet parents indicate their dog is less anxious today, compared to during the pandemic. And, this is even more true for pet parents who brought home a new dog during the pandemic, with more than half (56%) claiming their dog is less anxious today.
- Our dogs are happier, as well, with only 11% of pet parents indicating their dog is less happy in a post-pandemic world.
- The pandemic intensified our love, with more than half (54%) saying they value and love their pet now more than ever because of the pandemic.
Dogs are still having a profoundly positive impact on our health and wellness. It appears that regardless of what’s going on in the world around us – whether we’re in lockdown or living life to its fullest – our dogs serve as a constant source of comfort and motivation.
- An incredible 90% of pet parents said that being near their dog helps improve their overall mood.
- Eighty seven percent of pet parents said that their dog helps them stay active.
- Eighty three percent of pet parents said their dog was an integral part of getting through the last three years.
Pandemic-driven habits have staying power. It turns out, the pandemic helped develop long lasting habits that pet parents still maintain with their pet today.
- Half (51%) of pet parents spend extra cuddle time with their pet now, thanks to the pandemic. And, half watch more TV together now.
- Forty two percent of pet parents said they talk to their dog more ever since the pandemic.
- Half (51%) said they go for more walks together now.
- A quarter of pet parents said they bring their dog with them more now when they leave the house.
After checking in on dogs and pet parents that lived through the pandemic, a few expected concepts, like pets being less anxious today, were confirmed, but surprising new findings, like people spending more time with their dogs today, compared to during the pandemic, were also revealed. And, it appears that the human-animal relationship has been altered forever, in a positive way, as many pandemic habits, like watching TV with our dogs and going for more walks together, will endure.
Regardless of time or place, dogs continue to bring joy and happiness into our lives, reducing stress and improving our wellbeing. Not to mention, our pets themselves seem happier in a more normal world.
*A Rover survey of 1,000 US dog parents in December of 2022, conducted via Pollfish.