Animal Adoptions Skyrocket in Lockdown

Nalle is a Toy Cavoodle adopted during Sydney's 2021 lockdown.

Meet Nalle, she is one of the many animals adopted around the world during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Her owners are currently experiencing their 3rd month in Sydney’s lockdown, and decided 6 weeks ago they were ready to adopt a puppy and raise it before life returns to normal.

There are so many reasons as to why animal adoptions have hit an all time high during lockdown including having extra time and wanting a life companion to keep you company. It is, after all, the perfect time to adopt because you are home 24/7 and have the time to properly raise and train a new pet.

According to a study by Frontiers in Veterinary Services, from looking at Google Trends using keywords related to pet adoption they were able to see which countries were Googling the topic the most. The top countries contributing to the dataset include Australia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

The study was conducted to determine if there has been an increase of global interest on pet adoption after the announcement of COVID-19, and if the effect has been sustainable 8 months on. Trends depict that categories of pet, dog and cat adoption searches hit their highest between April and May 2020. Comparing this trend to the same period in 2019, the Relative search volume (RSV) ratio, which is the ratio of a query’s search volume to the sum of the search volumes of all possible queries, showed a 250% increase.

In an article published by the ABC in April last year, it was said the adoption rates in Canberra doubled amid the rise of the pandemic. RSPCA ACT chief executive Michelle Robertson said that was a good thing — but only if customers were able to keep their animals happy, healthy and homed after the pandemic.

“We’re hoping that if people do come out, that they come out for the right reasons. And if their reasons are not right, we will have a conversation with them and we won’t necessarily adopt an animal out on that day,” Michelle said.

ABC Article: Coronavirus restrictions see demand for pets surge as shelters issue warning to prospective owners

It is a concern that people are not adopting for the right reasons and that when lockdown is lifted, there may be more animals in shelters than there were before due to lack of ability to look after them.

Tegan McPherson, head of operations at RSPCA Victoria shares some advice to new ‘pawrents’ who are considering adopting.

“We are encouraging people to make a bit of a routine for their pets to prepare them. This could be getting them to sleep by themselves. Try feeding them in a different room to you. Keep an exercise routine that you’ll be able to maintain when you go back to the office, and rotate toys and enrichment items for dogs and cats so that they’ve got that ongoing enrichment, and can entertain themselves when you are not around.”

The Guardian Article: Dog gone: rescue pet shelters emptied by surge in demand during pandemic.

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