New US pet ownership study confirms pandemic-led growth

Couple with their dog

Pet ownership in 2020 rose to 70% of US households, and Millennials were the largest cohort of pet owners, per APPA’s new survey.

In 2020, pet ownership in the U.S. rose from 67% of households to an all-time high of 70%, wrote Steve King, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA), in a preview of the association’s soon-to-be-released “2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey.”

“Pets have played a central role in comforting Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic,” King wrote in an article for Pet Business. That resulted in increased spending on pet food and supplies in 2020, he added; 35% of pet owners surveyed said they spent more on their pets in the previous 12 months than in the preceding year. Gen Z and millennial pet owners led the higher spending, with 49-50% reporting they had spent more on their pets.

Millennials were also revealed to be the largest cohort of pet owners at 32 percent, followed closely by Baby Boomers at 27 percent, and Gen X at 24 percent.

Other key findings from the 2021-2022 study include:

  • Pet spending increased during the past year, with 35 percent of pet owners stating they spent more on their pet/pet supplies in the last 12 months than in the preceding year.
  • 14 percent of total respondents (pet owners and non-pet owners) obtained a new pet during the pandemic. Additionally, at least one in four new pet owners shared their recent pet acquisition – ranging from dogs to reptiles to horses – was influenced by the pandemic.
  • Pet owners’ online shopping increased by almost 20 percent. Before the pandemic, 60 percent of pet owners usually purchased pet products in person at brick-and-mortar stores. During the pandemic, in-person shopping dropped to 41 percent.
  • 51 percent of pet owners are willing to pay more for ethically sourced pet products and eco-friendly pet products.
  • Pet insurance purchases amongst both dog and cat owners have also increased, nearly doubling amongst cat owners in particular.

“For more than 30 years, APPA has been collecting and reporting consumer insight data through our National Pet Owners Survey, and each year we aim to enhance this industry resource,” said Steve King, APPA president and CEO. “The newest edition of the survey is the most comprehensive yet and we look forward to arming our members and the broader pet care community with the information needed to make strategic, informed business decisions that will help advance our already burgeoning industry.

The Surprising Cost of Parenting a Pet

By Carley Lintz

Pet Business | Published:

 

Adopting a pet is an almost surefire way to add joy to your life,

but it does come at a cost—at least for your wallet.

According to a new survey from TD Ameritrade, 33% of Americans have or have considered fostering/adopting a pet due to social distancing guidelines. When broken down by generation, the rate was highest among millennials at 50% compared to Gen X at 33% and Baby Boomers at 25%.

However, many pet owners quickly realized that pet ownership isn’t a cheap endeavor. In fact, almost half of surveyed dog owners (47%) said that having a pet is more expensive than they initially anticipated, spending an average of $1,201 annually.

Cat owners were similarly surprised with 41% reporting that their pet is more costly than expected, even though they only spent half as much as dog owners at $687 a year.

The top two spending categories for both animals were food and veterinary visits/vaccinations. When it comes to medical care, the average maximum dog owners reportedly will spend is $3,307 if their pup got sick. Cat owners capped their spending at just below $2,000.

According to the report, other categories pet parents are willing to splurge on include holiday gifts (66% of dog owners and 58% of cat owners), Halloween costumes (46% of dog owners and 34% of cat owners) and birthday parties (42% of dog owners and 34% of cat owners).

FDA Guidelines for Protecting Pets from COVID-19

By Carley Lintz

June 30, 2020 | Pet Business

 

Since the pandemic began, one question has been on every pet parent’s mind: “Can my pet catch COVID-19?”

“You’re doing all you can to keep your family safe during the coronavirus pandemic, but what about the furrier members of your household?” U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials said in a new pet safety video (see below). “At this time, the risk of pets spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 in people is considered low, but it does appear that people can give the virus to animals with preliminary research showing that cats and ferrets are more likely to get the virus than dogs.”

Even though the risk of transmission between owners and their pets appears to be low, there’s still a lot scientists don’t yet know about the novel coronavirus. So, the agency recommends that people take similar precautions to protect their pets like other members of the family, including: 

• Don’t allow pets to interact with people or animals outside your own household.

• Keep cats indoors as much as possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or humans.

• Keep dogs leashed on walks and maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.

• Avoid dog parks or other public places where large groups tend to gather.

At this time, the FDA does not recommend regular COVID-19 testing for pets, but if your pet gets sick or is exposed to a known case, you should talk to your veterinarian immediately.

FDA Guidelines for Protecting Pets from COVID-19

Pet Business | Published:
Since the pandemic began, one question has been on every pet parent’s mind: “Can my pet catch COVID-19?”

“You’re doing all you can to keep your family safe during the coronavirus pandemic, but what about the furrier members of your household?” U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials said in a new pet safety video. “At this time, the risk of pets spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 in people is considered low, but it does appear that people can give the virus to animals with preliminary research showing that cats and ferrets are more likely to get the virus than dogs.”

Even though the risk of transmission between owners and their pets appears to be low, there’s still a lot scientists don’t yet know about the novel coronavirus. So, the agency recommends that people take similar precautions to protect their pets like other members of the family, including:

• Don’t allow pets to interact with people or animals outside your own household.

• Keep cats indoors as much as possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or humans.

• Keep dogs leashed on walks and maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.

• Avoid dog parks or other public places where large groups tend to gather.

At this time, the FDA does not recommend regular COVID-19 testing for pets, but if your pet gets sick or is exposed to a known case, you should talk to your veterinarian immediately.

The Indirect Threat COVID-19 Presents for Pets

Published by Pet Business:

 

With the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, people are actively using hand sanitizers and other products to kill germs and keep from falling ill. However, this upswing in the use of cleaning chemicals has put pets at risk. Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control center with a 24/7 phone hotline, reported a 100% increase in calls regarding the misuse of cleaning items compared to last year.

“People are very concerned about their families during this COVID-19 crisis, and that includes their pets,” said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline, in a statement.

In response to the increase in inquiries, Pet Poison Helpline put together a video with tips on how to help keep pets safe from cleaning chemicals.

Pet parents should first take note that cleaning chemicals aren’t just risky for cats and dogs. Birds, reptiles and other exotic species can be sensitive to toxic fumes from common household cleaners, which is why pet parents should do their best to keep animal companions out of an area that they’re cleaning. If cleaning in a small enclosed space like a bathroom, the door should be closed with a window kept open or an exhaust fan turned on.

Proper care should also be taken with cleaning supplies. A mop bucket could pose a problem as dogs or cats could be tempted to drink from it. Used paper towels or sanitizing wipes should be disposed of in a covered trash can that pets can’t access. When not being used, cleaning supply bottles should be closed and stored in a place that pets can’t reach.

If a spill does occur, pet parents should keep pets from accessing the area until it is cleaned up. Even just walking through a bleach spill can cause damage to and irritate a pet’s skin. The pet could then consume the chemical by grooming its fur. Even small amounts of bleach can cause stomach irritation and vomiting in pets. If bleach goes into a pet’s eye, water should be used to rinse it out.

Pet parents should also take care with properly using hand sanitizer. If ingested by a pet, hand sanitizer can quickly cause intoxication and vomiting, and make their blood sugar to drop enough to induce a comatose state.

When using various cleaning chemicals, pet parents should take care not to mix them. Cleaning chemicals can be corrosive, and mixing bleach with chemicals like ammonia can release chlorine and chloramine gases that can be toxic for both humans and animals.

In the event a pet is exposed to chemicals, pet parents should contact a veterinarian for assistance or a poison control hotline.

Multiple Animals Test Positive for Coronavirus

Animals Can Become Sick From COVID-19

Pet Business | By Hannah Miller

Published:

 

When it comes to COVID-19, pet parents have remained fearful that their animal companions are susceptible to the virus. The outbreak has killed more than 110,000 people in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University (JHU), and news stories have swirled regarding pets testing positive for the virus as well as false alarms.

Luckily, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories(NVSL) has been tracking coronavirus infections in animals and has released a chart with all of its confirmed cases. The chart shows that four cats, one dog, and multiple lions and tigers have confirmed coronavirus infections. Most of the animals are located in New York, the state with the highest number of coronavirus cases, according to JHU.

NVSL released extensive information regarding the single canine on the list. The New York-based German Shepherd tested positive for the virus after exhibiting signs of respiratory illness. One of its owners also tested positive, and the other experienced symptoms of the virus prior to the dog displaying signs of infection. A second dog in the household showed no signs of illness, but did test positive for coronavirus antibodies, showing that it had likely been exposed. The German Shepherd is expected to make a full recovery.

In relaying information about the German Shepherd, NVSL urged pet owners not to panic and warned them against taking actions that would harm an animal’s welfare.

“We are still learning about SARS-CoV-2 in animals, but there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus,” NVSL said in a statement. “Based on the limited information available, the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered to be low.”

However, NVSL said people with COVID-19 can spread the virus to animals through close contact and those sick with the virus should avoid contact with pets and animals in order to protect them from potential exposure.