Covid's Effects on Pets

Fear of Pets Getting Covid

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.

Bronx Zoo Tiger Is Sick With the Coronavirus

"“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."

The Joys of Petting a Dog

"Now as I walk the streets with my dogs trying to get some exercise in this time of isolation, I have to tell children 'No, you may not pet my dog.' "

An article from

China's Animal Shelters Can't Cope With the Number of Pets Abandoned Due to COVID-19

"But a little reported effect of the crisis has been the abandonment of family pets by owners unwilling or unable to care for them amid lockdown conditions and misguided fears of contamination."

Pets in Lockdown

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.

How Have Pet Birds Been Affected by Covid-19?

"One positive is that their owners are spending more time at home. On the flip side, favorite friends and visitors aren't coming to visit, and sometimes it is hard to find the foods they want."

This is a picture of a white dog sitting on a couch.

A Dog's Tale

 "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."

This is a picture of a dog, with a collar tag reading "Jackson" staring out of a window.

Longing to go Outside

"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."

2020: The Year of The Ring of Steel and Shaggy Dogs

"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."

Separation Anxiety 

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.

quarantine puppy

"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. "

12.6 million households have welcomed new 'pandemic pets' into the home

"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."

Pets struggling to adapt as owners head back to the office

VANCOUVER -- Dog trainers and animal behaviourists are being flooded with calls from people seeking advice because their pets are having a hard time adjusting to their absence.

Joseph D. Joseph, Oral History, July 24, 2021

"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."

Pet Surrender

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.

US dog shelters struggle with returns after pandemic adoption boom - BBC News

"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."

Pandemic Pets Return to Shelters

"The pandemic pet adoption boom seems to be bursting as more and more people are sending their animals back to the shelter when they head back to the office."

No, People Are Not Returning Pandemic Dogs in Droves

"Despite alarmist headlines, the happy truth is that most people are keeping their newly adopted pets, animal welfare groups say."

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