dog rescue

Pet Parents Say Furry Friends Are Making The Health Crisis More Bearable, Recent Survey Shows

by Angela Andaloro

If there’s one group that’s managed to thrive during the health crisis, it’s pets. Pets are happy to have us home more.

We get to hang out with our furry friends. It may not seem like much to some, but it’s one of the few bright spots we’ve been afforded lately.

There’s data to prove that pets are making the health crisis more bearable for their humans. Gallant, the company that banks stem cells for dogs during their spay and neuter procedures so they can live healthier and happier lives, conducted a survey of 1,000 American pet parents. The goal was to find out how pets and pet parents have been faring during recent months.

The great news is that adoption is on the rise. In fact, most of the pet parents who have welcomed a new furry friend to their brood weren’t planning on it before the health crisis. It’s a spontaneous decision that’s proven to have countless benefits for many families and individuals.

2020 has truly been tough on everyone in one way or another. Many people are finding reprieve in their pets. In honor of National Dog Day, Gallant conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans to learn more about how pets and pet parents have been functioning during the health crisis.

The findings truly show how wonderful pets have been as companions during this difficult time. More than 68% of pet parents surveyed have spent more time with their pets than with people during the health crisis. It makes sense, considering not every pet parent stuck at home shares their furry friend with another person.

Adoptions and fostering have both been on the rise during the health crisis. For many, the decision to become a pet parent or add to their existing brood wasn’t planned. More than 79% of those surveyed didn’t have plans to adopt when staying at home began.

Pets have also helped make the work-from-home grind easier for their humans. When it comes to pets making surprise cameos during a video chat, 28.5% fessed up to bringing their four-legged friends in to shake things up. We’re sure 100% of coworkers have loved them for it.

That said, working from home really hasn’t been the worst of it. In fact, most of the pet parents would be happy to continue working from home. Of those surveyed, 83% said they wouldn’t mind continuing to work from home when all is said and done since it means more time with their fur babies.

Dog owners in particular are loving how pets are keeping them active during this time. Nearly 40% of dog owners are getting more than 5,000 steps a day compared to 21% of non-dog owners. Dog owners are getting more exercise, with 24% exercising more than they did before compared to 18.5% of non-dog owners.

There has also been another really important side effect of all that time at home. Pet parents have been more in tune with their pet’s health. Of those surveyed, 11% realized their pets have health issues that they weren’t aware of before the health crisis began.

As people start to think more about their own health, it is extending to those around them. Nearly half of the pet parents surveyed (42%) are thinking more about their pet’s health when making choices. That will surely lead to some well-taken-care-of pets in the years to come.

Veterinarian Shelly Zacharias, vice president of medical affairs at Gallant, shared her insights into the study’s findings:

“If there is a silver lining to the [health crisis], it would have to be the decreased number of homeless pets and the increase in veterinary care for our furry family members. While considering our interesting survey results, I thought that adopting or fostering during such a stressful, challenging time had to be one of the most unselfish acts of humankind. But then I realized, what better way to form your own emotional support system, make the best out of a bad situation and put a smile on your face at least once a day, than adding a pet to your life?”

“The benefits of adopting or fostering a pet are always abundant, such as increasing lifespan, decreasing blood pressure, and helping with depression. Adding an unconditional best friend to your life during this time of turmoil has the potential to give unmeasurable physical and emotional benefits to both you and the pet. As a veterinarian, the increased number of cases coming into the veterinary hospital during the [health crisis] initially confused me, but then I experienced a feeling of optimism with the realization that people were understanding their pet’s health and acting on the importance of having their pets in their lives,” she continued.

“Pets help us through so many challenges in life by just being a constant, positive source of companionship — they make us have to get up, feed them, take care of them, go outside with them to get fresh air, and walk them so they don’t tear up the couch. Pets give us a feeling of being needed, of being loved, and of not feeling quite so lonely — they help us get through one day at a time by always being there and needing us.

“My dog knows my mood before I do, she knows she is my best friend and I am hers. I can’t think of a more comforting feeling than seeing my dog, right beside me, every time I look down. And I know she finds comfort in her constants in life, she trusts me to take care of her and keep our daily routine intact regardless of the chaos surrounding me — and I don’t plan to let her down.”