• 1 in 5 new pet owners said they were influenced after seeing others post their cute pets on social media.
  • 53% admit they did no prior research before getting their pet during the pandemic. 
  • Infographic showing pet regret stats.

PPD: Post-Pet Depression… After being thrown into the deep end of a global pandemic, you may have found yourself with more time on your hands and the desire for companionship, as well as a daily routine. For many Americans, the most obvious answer was: adopt or buy a pet, of course. At the time, the commitment to caring for your new furry friend may have seemed somewhat attainable, as many pet owners were working from home, or perhaps the kids were around more to share walking responsibilities. However, now that things have begun returning to some sense of normalcy, cleaning up after your pet and giving them adequate attention may start feeling like a chore. Behind the cute Instagram pictures is now incessant barking, accidents in the house, midnight howling and 4 am scratching at your bedroom door…

Leading pet products website, Innovet Pet, polled 3,000 pet owners who had adopted or bought an animal during the pandemic and found that half (50%) in Maryland worry that they will not be able to care for their pet adequately as life returns back to normal, and they spend less time at home.

Illustrated infographic showing survey results

Being home alone means many people have been spending more time scrolling through social media. While some are tempted by online shopping purchases promoted by influencers and celebrities, 1 in 5 new pet owners said they were influenced into adopting or buying their animal after seeing others post their cute pets on social media. After all, what’s not to love about a Pomeranian who is dressed up in outfits such as pink hoodies – in fact, not only does Jiffpom have 9 million Instagram followers, he even made an appearance on Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” music video!

Even though they may have had more time to spend time with their new pet during the lockdown, over 1 in 3 (35%) of new pandemic puppy owners say their pup lacks critical social and training skills which are vital to development. This could be as a result of missing out on walks in public spaces and lack of exposure to other people and dogs due to social distancing regulations.

Worryingly, it seems some owners impulse-bought or adopted their pet, as an astounding half (53%) admit they did no prior research before getting their pet during the pandemic. This is problematic as now, just more than a year later, animal shelters are unfortunately seeing an increase in frustrated owners handing over older puppies with behavioral issues, as well as more listings for puppies being resold on pet sale sites.

If you’re back to working full days at the office, walking your new dog might not be as much of a priority as it was during the strict lockdown. However, insufficient exercise is detrimental to your pet’s health and can result in behavioral issues such as aggression, boredom, and fatigue. In fact, more than a quarter of pet owners believe walking your dog every day should be a legal requirement.

Acclimatizing to working from an office again and readjusting your daily schedule may be difficult at first – for both you and your pet. It’s important to remember that although you may be feeling frustrated at the situation, you still have the immeasurable responsibility of caring for your animal. If you’re struggling with integrating this into your busy lifestyle, it may be time to sit down and consider the different solutions available:

1.     Create a schedule

It may seem trivial but trying to balance the responsibilities of work, school, and home life can be tricky. If you live alone, try waking up or going to bed half an hour later if you struggle to find time to take your dog on walks. If you’re on a family schedule, allocate daily responsibilities to each member based on their availability.

2.     Behavioral training

Is your dog not housetrained yet? Do they bark incessantly when the doorbell rings? Are they vicious around other dogs? Now that many dog training facilities have reopened their doors, you might want to consider signing your pup up to a few sessions if they aren’t adjusting well. It may set you back some dollars but in the long run, it may benefit both you and your pet. For dogs that lack critical social and training skills due to lack of exposure to others during the lockdown, behavioral training could be an excellent starting point.

3.     Hire a dog walker

Because you are their loving and trusted owner, it’s always advised to care for your animal personally. However, life can get in the way of responsibility sometimes. Therefore, if you’re going through a challenging period at work or in your personal life, you could consider hiring a dog walker to make sure your pup is getting the exercise they need. If you’re traveling or won’t be home for a while, you could ask the help of a friend or hire a pet sitter to care for your animal. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and you might find yourself missing your furry friend while you’re apart from one another!

4.     You are not alone

You may feel like the only person going through your frustrations at this time but be assured that you are not alone. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to friends who own pets, your local vet clinic, or even online forums for support. Chances are there’s someone out there who has been in a similar situation and can offer help or advice.

‘If you’re struggling with pet regret after adopting or purchasing a new animal during the pandemic, it’s crucial to understand that you still have the responsibility to look after your pet,’ Dave Louvet of Innovet Pet. ‘Handing over your pet to be rehomed may sound like an easy fix but it can be extremely traumatic to your animal, therefore, ensure you explore every possible avenue and solution before resorting to the option of rehoming your pet.’

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