Recent market research has shown an exceptional increase in new pet owners during the pandemic globally. The major driving force behind these many pet adoptions is loneliness and restricted socialisation during the pandemic.
Most studies indicate interactions with pets helps in reducing stress, anxiety and depression as our furry friends help us to stay fit both physically and mentally. Thus, owing to increasing stress levels during the pandemic has led to an increase in pet adoptions across the world.
A recent survey by the American Animal Hospital Association revealed that more than 90% of pet owners were aware of the health benefits of owning a pet. In fact, the pet owners also acknowledged how it clearly affected the quality of their daily lives where they noticed 31% in improved physical fitness, 76% in reduced stress levels and up to 65% improvement in mental health.
Why the sudden increase in pet adoption?
Being an animal lover and a pet owner myself, when I read about an increase in pet adoptions; it gets me worried. My concern is, are these pet adoptions genuinely out of love for the animal or is it just a ‘pandemic phase’ based on fear of being alone or isolated?
What happens to our pets when this is all over?
While it’s fantastic that people are adopting pets, but there is still an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. Although there is a boom in pet adoptions and in the pet care industry, experts are also worried about the life of pets in the recent future. The main force behind the growth of pet adoption during the pandemic was loneliness and isolation from the outside world, especially for new pet parents. But what happens once this is all over?
Pets – it is a serious lifelong commitment
We need to understand very clearly that getting a pet home is a serious and lifelong commitment. In the current scenario, it requires a lot more effort and responsibility than merely cuddling and playing with a pet. It is even more essential to identify and designate a family member or a friend who can look after them in case you are unable to do. New or first-time pet parents should also understand that pets are not to be neglected, they need to have a doctor for their pet and, as advised, have necessary medicines and food in stock.
More than just love and cuddles
Currently, everyone is spending more time cuddling, playing, and showering their pets with love. Have we realised, that once life starts to crawl back to normalcy and we start returning to our usual routine, what deep stressful impact this change is going to have on our pets who are now so used to having us around all the time? I shudder to think how confusing it would be for the pet!
Consider your pet’s mental health
Post pandemic, as life will slowly start to get back to normal, we must make sure that our pet’s life also needs to get back to pre-pandemic days slowly. Any sudden change in our pet’s routine will be very disturbing for them and they might not be able to cope with it.
Now that your pet is so used to seeing you round the clock, the moment you resume work, it will land up leaving it being home alone for hours. We need to gradually introduce small changes every day for them to get used to it. At the initial stages, we can start by leaving them alone for a couple of hours and observe their behaviour in our absence.
If they are crying or continuously barking, it indicates that we will need to appoint a dog sitter for some time who can take them for their walks and spend little time with them. Having a fun routine for the pets can help, such as hiding treats in various parts of the house so that they are busy and not get bored. Try not to get stressed around your pets as they can sense your stress especially the inexperienced pet parents.
We must be extra careful and watchful towards our pet. As pet parents, we must be prepared and ready to consult veterinary doctors, dog trainers and dog walkers as it is possible that our pets could be going through stress, anxiety, aggressive behaviour, socialising and other issues especially during the pandemic with restricted movement.
For the safety of both pets and parents in necessary to maintain basic hygiene habits like giving bath to pets regularly, wash hands before and after touching them and needless to say, give them a happy clean home to live in.
Before adopting a pet, we should remember that “post-pandemic pets” should not be felt like a burden and definitely, they do not deserve to be abandoned or where they have to spend the rest of their lives in animal shelters. We should change our mindset to view our pets who are taking care and saving the lives of their parents during one of the most difficult times we are witnessing.
Contributor: Sonal Srivastava
About our Writing Program Student
A simple yet strong and emotional girl, Sonal a fitness enthusiast firmly believes in healthy living. She loves travelling and exploring new places and being a foodie, loves to cook! For her, spending time and energy reading, listening to music, watching movies with friends and family is a an investment of a lifetime.