New survey shows most pandemic dogs and cats are still in their homes

23 million American households acquired a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a new survey conducted by the ASPCA, most will not consider rehoming their pets.

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) released new data from a nationally representative poll of 5,020 respondents confirming that close to one in five households acquired a cat or dog since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This accounts for approximately 23 million American households! The vast majority of these households still have their new fur babes — 90 percent for dogs and 85 percent for cats — and are not considering rehoming their pet in the near future. Despite alarmist headlines tied to regional reports of a surge in surrenders, this trend is not currently evident on a national level with many organizations simply seeing a return to pre-pandemic operations and intake.

Pets have helped people cope

“This incredibly stressful period motivated many people to foster and adopt animals, as well as further cherish the pets already in their lives, and our recent research shows no significant risk of animals being rehomed by their owners now or in the near future as a result of the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions,” says Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “Pets are still providing their families with joy and comfort, regardless of changes in circumstances, and loving owners continue to recognize and appreciate the essential role pets play in their lives.”

As COVID-19 restrictions continue to be lifted across the country, the majority of surveyed pet owners are incorporating pets into their lifestyles with little reported concern about having enough time to spend with their pet or wanting to travel more but feeling limited by an animal. Although some pet parents expressed general concerns, 87 percent of respondents shared that they are not considering rehoming their animal, suggesting that pet parents remain committed to caring for their cats and dogs.

Responsible rehoming

Even without a national surge in returns occurring at this time, there are a variety of reasons that might make it difficult for someone to keep a pet due to factors outside of their control. The ASPCA encourages any pet parent who may be considering rehoming their pet to enlist the support of a friend or neighbor — or to reach out to a shelter or rescue organization in their area, as the staff can often provide advice and assistance.

For pet parents who are concerned about their new dog experiencing separation anxiety when routines change, there are many resources to help ease the transition and working with a certified applied animal behaviorist, veterinary behaviorist or certified professional dog trainer can help.

For more information about the ASPCA’s efforts to keep people and pets together, please visit aspca.org.