Should You Adopt A Pet During The Pandemic? Pet Experts Weigh In

You’re too busy and just don’t have enough time. Who’s going to walk it? When it comes to bringing a furry friend into your family, there’s definitely a lot to consider—and a lot of reasons you might have been holding off. Until now. Now that the Coronavirus has most Americans practicing social distancing and quarantine, it might feel like now is the time to welcome a cuddly critter into your home. But should you adopt a pet during the pandemic?

It would seem that bringing a new dog or cat into your family would only be a positive thing. After all, there’s nothing like a pet to help lift everyone’s spirits. But it’s not as simple as it might seem. You’re definitely going to have to weigh the pros (and cons) when you are mulling over the idea to adopt a pet during the pandemic. Here, the experts offer their advice.


A Pet Will Keep You Active

With almost everyone under quarantine, it can definitely get boring being indoors. And a playful pet can help chase those blues away — literally. “A pet will help keep you entertained while at home,” says Dr. Sara Ochoa, a veterinarian in Texas. “Your new dog will give you something to do during the day.” Whether it’s feeding your pooch or taking it out for a walk, a new pet will definitely give you something new (and exciting) to do.

A Pet Can Relieve Stress

There’s no denying that snuggling with your pet is sure to bring some peace into your life. And with the pandemic putting everyone on edge, a cute little kitty (and the calm that it would bring) could be the cure for all that stress that you’re dealing with. “Owning a pet has shown to decrease stress,” says Dr. Ochoa. “Pets are great with kids and will help them be calmer during this stressful time.”

You’ll Have Time To Train It

One of the biggest deterrents in adopting an animal is the time it takes to train it. But since you’re probably home 24/7 right about now, you have all the time in the world to train a new pet. “Yes, since people are spending more time at home, they should be able to properly train their dogs,” says Dr. Ochoa.


This Might Not Be The Best Time To Make A Decision

Go on Tik Tok or Instagram, and you’ll see that people are coming up with creative (and crazy) ways to pass the time. Some are chopping off their hair or stockpiling huge amounts of TP. In short, ask yourself if you’re really ready to adopt an animal. “This is a time of high stress and you are not at your best for making decisions,” says Scott Graham-Stephens, the Executive Director of Willoughy Animal Rescue Inc.  “Adopting an animal companion is not a short term coping strategy, though it may feel like it is the best thing to do right now when you are isolated from friends and family.” After all, an animal companion is a long-term commitment (think 10+ years or longer), so you don’t want to make a permanent decision based on temporary emotions.

You Need To Have The Income To Support A Pet

Although adopting a pet might be inexpensive (or even free), taking care of a pet definitely isn’t. So you want to make sure that you have finances to float the quality care that your pet deserves. “With people losing jobs and income, pets are also very expensive,” says Dr. Ochoa. “You will have to buy them food, treats, toys, and pay for vet visits, too.” And if your pet gets sick, (and you don’t have pet insurance) that can get pricey pretty fast.

Your Pet Might Not Get The Socialization It Needs

Although being cooped up at home and cuddling with a new puppy sounds like nirvana, it definitely has a drawback. Just like humans, your pets need to be social, too. “It is critical that puppies meet 500 new people, places and things by the time they are 17 weeks,” says Jme Thomas, the Executive Director at the Motley Zoo Animal Rescue. “Dogs just will not be able to reach those milestones with social distancing and people working from home.” So be sure to take your new pet for plenty of walks (and you’ll score some extra exercise!). Just be sure to stay socially distanced from other pet owners, too.

You And Your Pet Could Develop Separation Anxiety

Spending all day every day with your new pet wouldn’t seem like a problem. You’re getting in great bonding, and you’re helping your new pup adjust to the family. But you have to also consider the consequences of too much togetherness—for both of you—once things return to normal. “We are with our pets 24/7 for months during the stay at home orders but then suddenly we have to get back to real life, and leave the house empty,” says Thomas. “Some animals have trouble with this change.” The fix: make sure to give your pet a little space during the day. “Crating can help because they always have their own space and bedroom and sleeping will help them adjust to being alone.”

You’ll Need To Plan For Life Post-Pandemic

Sure, it’s easy to love spending long days with your new furry love. But you have to think about how you’ll take care of your pet post-pandemic. “Once this is over, you still will need to take care of your new pet. They will still need to go out for long walks and need just as much attention as they are getting now,” says Dr. Ochoa. “They will need to be let outside to potty, and training and discipline will need to continue.” So start making a plan for how you’ll handle these new challenges once life returns (somewhat) to normal. You might need to hire a dog walker, or have someone pitch in to help with your pet during the transition.

Adopting a pet during the pandemic can be wonderful for your family. Not only will you be giving a dog or cat a forever home, but the joy that a pet brings into your lives simply can’t be overstated. That said, there are still some challenges that come with adopting any animal. But if you’re aware of them and plan ahead, you’ll probably find that adopting an animal could be one of the best things to come out of this pandemic.

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