The pandemic has prompted pet adoptions, but also caused some pet owners to struggle

There have been a lot of stories in the last nine months about people adopting pets during the pandemic, but one pet care company wants to remind people of the responsibilities that come with pet ownership.

The second annual Better Cities for Pets report from Mars Petcare, the pet care arm of McLean, Virginia-based Mars, Inc., recognizes how important pets have been for people seeking companionship during the pandemic.

However a recent report — entitled “Pets in a Pandemic” — also warns potential pet owners, or those who may want to gift a pet this holiday season, that the disruptions brought about in 2020 can make pet ownership difficult.

First of all, the organization notes that dogs and cats can cost owners about $1,500 in their first year, and most pets will live for 10 to 18 years. That adds up to quite the financial burden.

The report said  there has been a rise in the number of pet owners giving up their furry friends during the pandemic. Twenty percent of pet owners thought about giving up their pets, and as many as 13% actually did it, partially due to the financial burden.

In addition, the report advises, make sure you or loved ones have the time, money and ownership style that will suit the type of pet you want. For example, some dog breeds need a lot of exercise, so be sure your lifestyle is conducive to that.

“The report uncovered a strong current of positivity around pet ownership but also showed the challenges that many pet owners have faced throughout 2020,” said Jam Stewart, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Mars Petcare.

In addition, the survey showed the need for some pandemic support for pet owners, including programs that may ease the financial burdens for those who have lost work, or for cities to provide more space for pet recreation, now that more people are at home and spending time with their pets.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

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