An estimated 23 million Americans or at least one in five households had adopted a new member of their family early last year. And no, it’s not a baby. The newest member of these households is none other than their beloved pet.
According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA, one in five households got a new cat or dog during the start of the pandemic. And, according to the animal welfare organization, 90% of these acquired dogs and 85 percent of these acquired cats are still in the homes that adopted them. Meaning, most of those who took pets to their homes are not considering rehoming them or bringing them back to pet shelters.
This is contrary to some reports which said that pet adoption is down during the pandemic. Animal rescue organizations are delighted to see that the pandemic has increased the interest of most families in taking care of pets.
Why not? Pets have been comforting, therapeutic, and helpful during these difficult times.
More households adopted pets
As early as last year, surveys already show how families turned to pets to cope with the stress and anxiety of the spread of COVID-19. And, they’re not even buying pets. They’re actually fostering from animal shelters. During the onset of the pandemic, 33% of Americans considered adopting pets. Half of them were millennials, which had the biggest share in interest. Some 33% came from Gen X while 25% of boomers also adopted pets.
The majority of them said that adopting dogs and cats made them feel less lonely during the pandemic. It helped ease their stress and anxiety from all the adjustments brought about by this difficult situation. But almost half of them did not expect that taking care of pets would cost them big money. Those who adopted dogs have to spend $1,201 yearly for food, veterinary care, grooming, and other needs of their pets. Those who have cats, meanwhile, spend $687 yearly on average.
But, the amount doesn’t matter, for the pets gave them the comfort they needed during these trying times.
The challenges that come with it
But it isn’t just the expenses that concerned new pet owners. Since some of them are first-time owners, it also took them time to get used to having a pet at home. They had to deal with pet urine and odor, for one. This is why some pet owners had to consult suppliers of high-quality hardwood flooring. Getting the highest quality flooring will help prevent stains and odor.
Fur and pet dander also became a concern to some, as some new pet owners didn’t realize they were allergic to pets until they got one during the pandemic. Some had to deal with skin irritation or asthma when they first encounter pets, so it’s important for pet owners to take the necessary precautions.
But, at the end of the day, these are little worries compared to the love and comfort that dogs and cats bring to households. This is why most of them, despite these concerns, still keep their pets at home.
Everyone was once a newbie fur parent
If you are a new pet owner and are still learning the ropes of taking care of pets, here are some tips that might help you address these little concerns:
Consult a veterinarian
You don’t just go to a pet clinic when something wrong happens to your pets. You can visit them for consultations when you want to know more about being the best fur parent. The vets know how to calm an excited dog or a grumpy cat. They know how to deal with them when they’re showing unusual actions or behaviors. Sometimes, dogs and cats are hard to read, and you might just alienate them if you’re not sure what to do. They also know which pet food or vitamins are best for your babies. Ask them questions so you would know.
Communicate with your pets
Some pet owners only play with their pets when they feel sad. This is why some experts say that we might be projecting our sadness and anxiety towards our pets during this pandemic. Spend as much time as possible with your pets. Play with them from time to time.
Watch vlogs or read more about others’ experiences
Learn from other pet owners who have been there in your situation. Everyone was once a newbie pet owner. We’ve all had new experiences with our fur babies, and it would help if you will listen to their stories and see if you can apply them on your own. And when you go past the newbie stage, share your story as well.
Taking care of pets is more than just fun and leisure. It is a responsibility. As a new pet owner, know that your baby’s life depends on how well you take care of them. More than the expensive pet food and accessories, they deserve to be cared for and loved. They deserve your time and attention. And then they will give it back to you a hundredfold.