COVID-19: Pet Ownership in Canada

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COVID-19: Pet Ownership in Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the Canadian pet industry through an increased interest in pet ownership and the fact that pet stores and pet industry supply chains are declared by regional governments as "essential services." More details on these trends below:

Increased Interest in Pet Ownership

  • Animal rescue groups have seen an increased interest in fostering and adopting pets, according to groups such as the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society and New Hope Dog Rescue. As of April 16, the Calgary Humane Society has adopted out 124 animals during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • According to Humane Canada, pet adoption has increased by 20% to 60% throughout the country.
  • Dog breeders have also reported that their waiting lists have increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • However, because of social distancing guidelines, some Canadian animal adoption groups have had to put adoptions on hold or conduct remote adoption applications. This is through a digital first-come-first-served process where applicants are interviewed via phone and then invited for a meet-and-greet.

Pet Stores as an Essential Service

  • Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada (PIJAC Canada) called for pet stores and other pet industry businesses to be listed as an essential service and to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Among Canada's provinces and territories that have required mandatory business closures, pet stores have been explicitly listed as an essential service in all of them. This allows them to operate and continue to make sales during the pandemic.
  • Pet industry supply chains, on the other hand, were declared essential in Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nova Scotia have not declared any mandatory business closures.
  • As essential services, these businesses will have some sense of financial security when paying out employees, since the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) can cover 75% of their earnings prior to the pandemic.

Net Positives for the Pet Industry

  • United Raw Pet Foods, Inc. a Canadian pet food company, owned by Dane Creek Capital Corp., also based in Canada, has invested in its manufacturing staff by granting them permanent pay increases during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dane Creek believes that the "stay-at-home economy" is beneficial to the pet industry in general as more people add pets to their families. According to Dane Creek CEO Mark Warren this will "benefit the long-term secular growth trajectory for the pet industry as a whole."
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