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Pets in the Post-Pandemic World

Photo: Courtesy of BRUNO EMMANUELLE on Unsplash

The pandemic has proven the increasing importance of pets for everyone’s physical and mental health. Steven Feldman predicts the future of pets after the pandemic.

For most of us, pets have been bright spots during the ongoing pandemic. According to current estimates, 67 percent of American households have pets. However, this number can only have grown during the pandemic amid more pet adoptions.

Pets have found their way into our hearts and every aspect of our lives. There’s no going back. Here are my predictions for a more pet-friendly post-pandemic society:

Prediction 1: Pets will be acknowledged as essential to better mental health

Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults live with a mental illness. The pandemic has created additional stress for everyone. One reason pets are having their moment is their positive impact on mental health. Research shows companion animals reduce stress, depression, anxiety, and loneliness. The pandemic has accelerated society’s recognition of these benefits.

Prediction 2: Pets will become permanent co-workers

Millions of Americans are working from home. Pets are beneficiaries of this trend as they get better care and attention from their owners. Employees are also more likely to be productive and collaborative when pets are present. In the post-pandemic world, all companies will need to show genuine concern for employees’ health. According to surveys, 91 percent of employees who work for a pet-friendly company say their company supports their physical health and wellness.

Prediction 3: Demand for pet-inclusive housing will grow

A Human Animal Bond Research Institute survey studied the state of pet-friendly rental housing. Faced with numerous restrictions, 72 percent of renters say that pet-friendly housing is hard to find. The ongoing housing disruptions will potentially make things even harder for pet owners. To keep families together, more pet-friendly housing will be needed.

Prediction 4: Pets will receive a higher level of veterinary care

Veterinary care is essential for pets, but veterinarians are facing many challenges on how to safely deliver care. Some states have allowed veterinarians to offer telehealth options for pet owners. Pet owners want more of these services, so barriers to virtual care will continue to fall.

Prediction 5: Lawmakers will enact policies to support pet ownership and care

Pandemic-borne economic hardship will affect many pets. Already, 69 percent of all pet owners believe that the government should help make pet care more affordable. Pet-related policies should increase in the future.

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