There’s been a lot more people saying they’re getting cats and dogs this year, compared to previous years. In 2020, on average, 9,480 people posted about getting a cat or dog every month. For the 2016-19 period, this number was just 7,357.
The trend seems to be driven by Covid-19 and the pandemic. The beginning of the year saw numbers similar to previous years, but 2020 mentions jumped way ahead after March.
This came after countries around the world implemented severe lockdowns, closing workplaces and schools, minimizing movement, and triggering increases in unemployment. This meant more people were spending far more time in their homes.
That could have led to people wanting to get a pet, either for company, or because they now had the time to acclimatize a pet to a new home without having to leave them alone for most of the day.
Not many users gave reasons for getting their pets, but 2020 saw more of these mentions with references to work and offices than in the years before. This offers some evidence to suggest the “new normal” of working from home has enabled more people to get pets.
We can see further evidence in this Google Trends data. After a lockdown lull, global searches around dog training and litter boxes jumped above normal levels as countries started lifting lockdown restrictions.
We also looked at whether more cats or dogs were being given new homes.