A Lockdown Blessing? Numbers Rise As More Households Acquire Pets

Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam on Unsplash

Based on the data provided by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA), 3.2 million families in the United Kingdom have adopted a pet since the outbreak of Covid-19 began. According to the association, this implies that the country currently has 17 million households that own a pet. The Pet Population Data Survey carried out by PFMA stated that the major increase was driven by young families and two third of new pet owners being between the ages of 16 to 34.

However, as a reaction to social isolation, many people bought pets. 74% opined that their pets had improved their mental health through the pandemic.

“Our research confirms the belief that many more people are benefiting from pet ownership and we are reassured by the mental health findings. However, it is clear that we need to consider the welfare of these new pets. As our survey highlights, introducing a pet to a household in covid times can have repercussions or create some unexpected difficulties.”- said PFMA deputy chief executive officer, Nicole Paley.

Superstores in UK have already reported an “unprecedented” increase in pet ownership, and they have reported that this seems to be creating a scarcity of some dog and cat food supplies.

General manager of Mars Petcare UK, Helen Warren-Piper said: “We recognise retailers are experiencing unusual demand for pet food during lockdown.”

CEO at Pets at Home Group PLC, Peter Pritchard explained to the BBC’s Today Programme that “The pet care market has been incredibly strong throughout and I think that tells you an awful lot about people’s relationships with their pets and the roles that pets play in people’s lives.” He added that “more people have considered having a pet because their lives have changed and they are at home more often.”

Although, some families with children (17%) struggled with their new pet acquisition as providing training proved to be more challenging than expected while 38% of new pet owners said that having a new pet was similar to having a baby.

The survey from PFMA as at March 2021 shows that the UK presently has 34 million pets.

If you’re worried about your pet’s welfare or if you’re currently struggling, the PFMA can help you figure out what to do. It is recommended you visit their website for more information.

Infographic by Sonia Amure

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