16 August 2021

Pets and the Pandemic: a social research snapshot of pets and people in the COVID-19 era

As leaders within the pet industry, Animal Medicines Australia considered it essential to understand how the pandemic has changed our relationships with our pets and the people that help care for them.

In this report, Pets and the Pandemic, our research indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions may have created an opportunity for Australians to introduce a previously desired pet into the family, rather than the pandemic being the reason itself for acquiring a pet. For instance, working from home arrangements have provided the opportunity to spend time with a young pet.

Our research shows the early anecdotal reports accurately reflect the biggest boom Australia has seen in pet ownership. In a time of significant uncertainty and reduced social interaction, Australians have turned to pet ownership as a source of comfort and joy. This report, a supplement to Animal Medicines Australia’s triennial report, includes overall pet population data as well as information specifically focused on cats and dogs based on a quantitative survey and qualitative research.

Owners said that pets had a positive impact on their lives throughout the pandemic because they provided joy, comfort and were good for mental health.

The smaller number of negative experiences reported were associated with things like restricted walking times, worrying that their pet could catch COVID-19 or having their pet pass away.

With pet ownership now at record levels, policy makers must consider the needs of companion animals and their owners. This should range from rental, strata and body corporate regulations to animals in public places, transport access and holiday accommodation. The pandemic also showed that pet animal welfare must be explicitly protected as an essential service/activity.

AMA thanks and acknowledges the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia, the Pet Industry Association of Australia and the Australian Veterinary Association for working with us on the report to share these insights with the community.

Our pets bring so much love and joy to our lives; it is our responsibility in turn to provide them with the best health, care and environment we possibly can.

Download the full report below.

Pets and the Pandemic: a social research snapshot of pets and people in the COVID-19 era

Download pdf (8 MB)