COVID-19: Pet Ownership in Canada

Goals

To gather information on how COVID-19 has impacted pet ownership in Canada, with a focus on dogs and cats, including insights and trends on pet food sales, buying or adoption, and concerns regarding separation anxiety when owners return to work. The information will be used to prepare for a conversation with a client that manages a pet and dog food brand.

Early Findings

  • According to Canadian breeders, there has been an increase in pet ownership by Canadians as a result of people being bored while sheltered at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Richard Paquette, a dog breeder from Sudbury, says that "he has about 25 people on a waiting list for a recent litter of puppies." Paquette estimates that there has been "at least a 10 fold increase" in requests for purebred dogs during this period.
  • Canadians are also adopting more pets during the quarantine. For example, Tricia McAuley of New Hope Dog Rescue in Saskatoon said that, for the first time, there are no more dogs available on their adoptions website. This center has also seen "an unprecedented increase" of people asking to act as foster families for dogs.
  • Brampton Animal Services (BAS) has adopted out at least 23 animals since March. The center has implemented a virtual system to help people adopt animals that include dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, among others. BAS uses video calls to get in contact with the people interested in adopting and makes sure that future adopters know what kind of life they will be able to provide the pet after the pandemic subsides.
  • An animal shelter in Dartmouth, N.S. has experienced an increase in the number of people who want to adopt a cat while they quarantine at home. In less than a week, the shelter adopted out 16 cats.
  • In addition to an increase in people wanting to adopt or foster a pet, pet shelters in Canada have seen a rise in "surrendered pets" due to owners losing their jobs and having less income.

Proposed next steps:

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