A survey released Wednesday found that a wide majority of dogs and cats adopted during the pandemic remain with their owners, despite a series of recent news reports suggesting a trend of “pandemic pets” being abandoned.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) concluded from a “nationally representative” Ipsos Omnibus poll that 90 percent of households that took in a dog and 85 percent of households that adopted a cat since March 2020 still have their pets.
Pet owners did express some concerns, including 32 percent being extremely or very worried about financial security and 25 percent being worried about affording veterinary care. But overall, a total of 87 percent of current dog and cat owners said they would not currently consider rehoming their pet in the next three months.
The survey also confirmed the suspected trend that a wave of pets were adopted throughout the pandemic in the U.S. — about one in five respondents said they took in a new dog or a cat since March 2020.
The ASPCA estimated that about 23 million American households acquired a pet in that time period, based on the 2019 U.S. Census.
“Despite alarmist headlines tied to regional reports of a surge in owner surrenders, this trend is not currently evident on a national level with many organizations simply seeing a return to pre-pandemic operations and intake,” the organization said in a release.
ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker said in a statement that the 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.”
“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,” he said.
The Ipsos Omnibus poll had 5,020 respondents between May 17-May 21 and had a margin of error of 1.4 percentage points.
In its release, the ASPCA advised those considering giving up their pet to ask a friend, neighbor, local shelter or rescue organization for recommendations and help.