A significant number of new pet owners are considering giving up their pets as a result of lifestyle changes following the pandemic, according to a new study.
The research, commissioned by Kantar and animal health association NOAH, sought to find out more about the new cats and dogs joining households since the start of the lockdown period. It found that 31% of new cat/dog owners fear they may have to give up their pet as a result of the various challenges they are now facing, while 13% of cat and 27% of dog owners state they are struggling to look after their pet now that they are out of the house more often and 15% and 27% of new cat and dog owners respectively are more likely to experience behavioural issues in their animal now that their lifestyle has changed.
While the study found that 92% of new cat and dog owners agreed that their pet is now part of their family, and fewer than 1 in 5 respondents expressed concerns about their ability to cope with their pet, rates were notably higher among owners who acquired their pet during the pandemic, with dog owners particularly reporting stress, worry or fear.
The study found that around three in 10 cat/dog owners welcomed a new pet during the pandemic, of whom a third were first-time pet owners. Within these new owners, the study found that the most likely demographics to have acquired a cat or dog during the pandemic are young adults (18-34-year-olds) and parents with children under 10.
Dawn Howard, NOAH Chief Executive, said: “Our pets have provided us with so much support during the darkest days of the pandemic – our survey shows how they have helped our mental health and encouraged us to exercise. With our lives starting to open up again comes new challenges; both for new dog and cat owners who have to juggle the responsibilities that come with keeping a happy healthy pet, and for pets that are having to adjust to changing times.
“As the new generation of pet owners seek to restore their pre-pandemic life, whilst balancing the needs of their new pandemic pet, there is help out there. Pet owners are already choosing their vet for pet advice with 70% trusting their vet most. The veterinary team can give excellent advice and can recommend experts to help with behavioural issues.”