The impact of COVID-19 on our pets

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 we’ve spent more time at home than ever and many of us have turned to our pets for comfort, entertainment and companionship.

Lockdown has brought us closer to our pets, but they have no idea why we’re spending so much time with them. The change in their routines and the extra hours spent with us can have an impact on our pet’s behaviour, health and in some cases cause separation anxiety.

In the PDSA Paw Report 202the-impact-of-covid19-on-dogs-statistics0 it was revealed that since the start of lockdown 5% of dog owners started to see their dog showing signs of distress when left alone and 20% of owners reported a new problem behaviour. These include scratching, destructive behaviour, barking, howling for more than five minutes and toileting in the house. The research also found that the percentage of dogs left alone for five hours or more on a typical weekday was significantly lower than in pre-lockdown results and in previous years. Dogs who were left alone pre-lockdown for longer periods of time may find it difficult to adjust again if owners return to working away from home.

For tips on helping your dog adjust to you returning back to work, read our blog How to prepare your dog for when the coronavirus lockdown ends.  


Cats behaviour was also reported to have changed during lockdown with 23% of cats showing new behaviours, including yowling, miaowing or vocalising (6%), begging for food (4%) and waking owners up (4%).

Interestingly 15% The-impact-of-Covid-19-on-cats-statisticsof cats spent more time outdoors during lockdown. Perhaps they needed a break from us!

The lockdown has had an effect on cats and dogs diet with some pet owners changing the way they feed their pet. The report revealed that 8% of dog owners noticed that their dog had gained weight during lockdown, that’s equivalent to 790,000 dogs! This rise in weight gain could be down to the increase of treats to diets, with 16% of owners feeding more treats and 10% feeding their dog more human food.

Similar findings were found for cats, with 6% of owners saying their cat had gained weight during lockdown. Again, the increase of treats seems to have contributed in this rise, as 17% of cat owners have fed more treats since the start of COVID-19 restrictions.

The PAW Report has also provided evidence of the vital roles that our pets can play in our health and wellbeing. Half of owners (49%) said that owning a pet was a lifeline during the lockdown and 82% of cat owners said that owning a cat made the-impact-of-covid19-pet-owner-statisticsthem feel less lonely.

As society continues to battle the effects of COVID-19, it’s clear that the wellbeing of our pets is important. We must not forget that pets feel the impact of this pandemic too. Continuing to care for our pets during these difficult times is essential to ensure that they stay happy and healthy.

Has your pet developed any new behaviours during lockdown? Let us know in the comments below.

Source of statistics: PDSA Paw Report 2020