COVID-19: Pet Ownership in Canada

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COVID-19: Pets in Canada

The COVID-19 crisis is transforming almost every aspect of life and business as people understand it, and it appears that this holds true for consumer behavior surrounding their pets. Fourteen pieces of information, data, and/or statistics surrounding how COVID-19 is impacting dog and cat ownership in Canada have been curated and presented below. Additionally, we have presented two pieces of United States data surrounding pet food manufacturers and how COVID-19 is impacting them. We are providing this as there is no publicly available data for the Canadian market, but we still thought this would be valuable information to have. We provided charts for this data.

Separation Anxiety

Pet Adoption/Purchasing Rates

  • Across Canada, animal rescue organizations are reporting a spike in demand for rescue dogs and cats, as people are looking for four legged companions to keep them company during the pandemic and the forced isolation being endured by many. According to CTV News, when the news organization reached out to six rescue organizations from British Columbia on the west coast, to Nova Scotia on the east coast, they were told that applications to foster pets have dramatically surged, with some fielding six times more requests than average. "One group received as many applications in two days as they normally get in six months." According to Rory O’Neill, a dog behaviorist with Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue (one of the organizations surveyed by CTV news), We have more foster applications than we have dogs right now, which happens almost never."
  • The reason behind the trend appears to be the same across Canada. All the groups reported that as the pandemic causes the closure of workplaces and schools, many Canadians find themselves with enough time to welcome a new pet into their lives, either permanently or as a temporary foster.
  • For some people, fostering a dog has turned into a life altering experience in a literal sense. For example, Fiona Groves, 40, a fitness coach from Canmore, Alberta decided she wanted to foster a dog during the pandemic. She has transitioned, out of necessity, her in-person business to one hundred percent online sessions. Because of this, she felt that she had lots of extra time to properly care for a foster dog. She chose to foster, rather than adopting, because she felt that once she went back to work, she simply would not have the time to look after a dog properly. That turned out to be incorrect. Fiona picked up her foster dog from Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue on a Sunday and three days later all her best laid plans were forgotten. Fiona, along with her husband, decided to keep the dog. While "falling in love" with their foster dog was one of the motivating drivers behind their decision, Fiona made a decision as to how she wanted her life to look post COVID-19. She has reconsidered what she wants her life to look like once things go back to normal. She revealed: “There has been a shift in perspective. I realized that I can’t keep on working those really long days. So I’m still going to be going back to my face-to-face teaching and personal training, but I’m definitely going to make some adjustments so they’re no longer 15-hour days. Now I’m going to make sure my schedule is also dog-friendly.”
  • According to Humane Canada, during this pandemic, pet adoption numbers have increased anywhere between twenty percent to sixty percent, depending on the province.

COVID-19 Influence on Pet Food

General Information


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