At the beginning of the pandemic, there were a lot of unanswered questions. Worried pet owners feared that their pets might be susceptible to the virus. Worse still, some owners feared their pets could act as Covid reservoirs and pass the virus to vulnerable family members. Recent studies have allayed those fears, demonstrating that domestic animals are highly unlikely to carry or sicken from Covid.
"“This is the first instance of a tiger being infected with Covid-19,” according to the federal Agriculture Department, which noted that although only one tiger was tested, the virus appeared to have infected other animals as well."
Quarantine was in many ways a blessing and a curse. We experienced more bonding time, but also more boredom. We experimented with new recipes, but sometimes struggled to find the ingredients at the grocery store. We spent more time outdoors, increasing our levels of exercise, but also found ourselves gaining weight from emotional eating and snacking while binging the latest streamed series. Our pets experiences, as they so often do, reflected our own. On the whole, however, it seems they handled it much better than their human companions.
"While COVID-19 was cause fear, anxiety, and depression in people, for Hannah it was just what she needed. After a few months, she became a whole new dog. Having all three of her humans home 24/7 seemed to alleviate a lot of her fears and anxieties. ... While COVID did bring devastation to people across the world, for one little dog it was just the medicine she needed."
"Like people, my dog seems to miss going out to public spaces (like an out door mall, hiking, the patio of a restaurant, even the Pima Air and Space Museum) and getting attention from all the humans that pass by. He too is missing out on the social experiences that he used to enjoy before the pandemic."
"Pictured in the photo is my 2 year-old mut, Nala. Like many dogs during the pandemic
of COVID-19, she was happy. ... Nala’s smiling face in the photo represents the simplicity of the happiness one can get from spending more time with family. It was a silver lining during these uncertain times."
"Stage 4 restrictions also meant that all non-essential services were shut to combat the unnecessary spread of the virus, and this included dog groomers. Our West Highland White Terrier Angus was certainly thankful for this as sitting still is not his strong point, but it also meant that he could hardly see with his hair growing over his eyes like a veranda."
Pets have grown accustomed to having their families home nearly 24/7 during the pandemic. For puppies, kittens, and other animal babies adopted during lockdown, it is all they have every known. With people returning to work and school, many pets are struggling to cope with the loneliness that a "return to normal" brings for them.
"My family ended up adopting a puppy right at the start of quarantine in March. This led to two things, first a source of joy and distraction while stuck at home, and two, a puppy with a LOT of separation anxiety. "
"This story from Good Morning America talks about how 12.6 million households got new pets during the pandemic. Now some of those pets are not used to being alone. An expert trainer, Eric Ita, gives tips for pups with separation anxiety and other advice for dog owners."
"Wendy got very, very comfortable having us around all the time. Which then when I went back to work, she liked less and she got more vocal and my cat is prone to anxiety. She's an old feral street cat that was in the shelter for a very, very long time went to a couple foster homes they didn't like her they send her back when I go on vacations more than three days at a time. She just has like physical like adverse effects. Or you know her eyes will swimming in water she'll have pus forming one of her eyes and would get the swell closed completely. So she got really comfortable. She just got used to me being around for almost all hours the day and I went I went back to work and I was in the school frequently. for hours and hours at a time. She definitely began to show some of those effects but for the most part, I mean Wendy's a cat. It as long as your meals got to her time she was okay."
Many pandemic pets were adopted on an impulse when individuals and families were lonely, bored, and stuck at home. This led to fears that once life returned to normal, many of these pets would find themselves back in shelters. Initial signs are good. While surrender rates are rising, the data indicates they returning to pre-pandemic levels, not a huge surge.
"This story from the BBC talks about how many dogs adopted during the pandemic are being returned to shelters once life returns to normal. Some adopters did not think ahead or understand all the implications of pet ownership. This is a traumatic experience for these poor animals. Also, fewer dogs were neutered/spayed during the pandemic, so there is an uptick in the number of puppies needing homes."