A Quarter Of Pet Owners In The UK Have Regrets Or Concerns About Getting A Pet During Lockdown

lockdown pet dogs

Over the course of the pandemic and lockdown, a quarter of pet owners welcomed a new pet into their home, most commonly a dog (17%) or cat (12%). Of those who took ownership, almost half (47%) did so for the first time.

26% said they have regrets and concerns about their decision of taking ownership of a pet during lockdown.

1. Younger generations have more regrets and concerns about getting a pet during lockdown than any other age group

British people between the age of 18 and 34 have more regrets about taking ownership of their pet during lockdown, with almost half of the participants within that age group feeling anxious about their decision. The most common worries were that they underestimated the cost and how time-consuming it would be to own a pet (both 14%).

Age group Has a concern or regret about taking ownership of a pet
18-34 46%
35-54 32%
55+ 12%

2. Rabbit owners had more regrets than any other pet owner

People who took ownership of a rabbit during lockdown have more regrets or concerns (42%) than people taking ownership of any other pet. Rabbit owners mentioned that they underestimated the cost of owning a rabbit (17%) and potential health problems (15%).

Pet Has a concern or regret about taking ownership of a pet
Rabbit 42%
Dog 28%
Cat 28%
Horse 27%

3. 1 in 7 pet owners are worried that the easing of lockdown would increase pet theft

  • We found that two-fifths (40%) of new pet owners were concerned about balancing pet ownership with the easing of lockdown.
  • The most common concern was about an increase in pet theft (14%), while 11% were concerned about both disruption from returning to work and their pet getting separation anxiety with not needing to be at home so often.

lockdown pet dog reading

Do you have any concerns as a pet owner with the easing of lockdown restrictions? %
Increases in pet theft 14%
Returning to work will disrupt my pet 11%
My pet will have separation anxiety 11%
Going on holidays will disrupt my pet 9%
My pet will have socialisation anxiety 7%
The increased cost of getting a pet 5%
The increased cost of keeping a pet 5%
More difficult to access pet/puppy training 4%

4. Increased time spent at home encouraged people to purchase a pet during lockdown

  • 36% of all pet owners surveyed agreed that the pandemic was somewhat a factor for taking ownership of a pet.
  • The reason why these owners felt encouraged to take ownership of a pet was the increased time at home (35%), ability to work from home (32%), and desire for companionship (30%).
How did the pandemic encourage or enable you to purchase a pet(s)? %
I have spent more time at home 35%
I was able to work at home 32%
To have more companionship 30%
It is easier to train a pet whilst at home more often 25%
I was planning to get a pet before the pandemic 19%
Less time commuting 15%
I’ve spent less time away or abroad 15%
My children are at home 14%
I’ve had more disposable income 9%
I’ve been seeing others with pets more often 5%

Read more about the findings here.