We surveyed VitusVet App users about experiences with their pet during the COVID-19 outbreak. The majority of pet owners said that pets provided a source of comfort during uncertain times, with many mentioning increased activity and social media appearances. Questions dealt with three primary themes, including interactions with pets during the pandemic, concerns about COVID-19 and pets, and veterinarian or care-related topics.

Pet Interactions

52% said that they are feeling more loved or comforted than usual by their pet

Exercise was a popular theme, with 53% noting more playtime at home and 39% saying they took more frequent dog walks

Pets also seem to be popular on social media, with 36% taking many more photos or videos of pets and 22% revealing that their pets make regular appearances in video calls with co-workers

It’s obvious that now more than ever, pets can serve as a valuable source of connection and comfort for their human companions.

VitusVet CEO and co-founder Mark Olcott, DVM

COVID-19 Concerns

33% are not at all concerned about COVID-19 affecting their pets, with 58% expressing some concern

21% asked whether their dogs can play with other dogs as long as owners practice safe social distance

46% asked if coronavirus sticks to pet hair or fur

Most Concerned States
(most concerned first)

  1. Connecticut
  2. New York
  3. Minnesota
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Kentucky

Least Concerned States
(least concerned first)

  1. Colorado
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Utah
  4. Ohio
  5. Maine

After news broke of a Bronx Zoo tiger becoming infected with COVID-19, many respondents wrote in comments asking about the danger to their own pets.

Top Questions

We received more than 650 write-in questions from the pet owners surveyed! The key question themes were virus transmission by breed, potential behavior changes, transmission on hard surfaces, exercise and fun, fear of office visits, grooming, socialization as well as spay and neuter impacts.

Hear veterinarians answer the top questions we received:

  1. Can pets catch COVID-19 from humans? If yes, what symptoms should I look for?
  2. Can it live on their fur? Should we be wiping them down after walks?
  3. Can the virus be on my pet’s collar, leash or harness?
  4. Can dogs or cats bring the virus into the home via paws from outside?
  5. Virus on my pet’s food bowls… is this possible? How long does it live?
  6. How do we handle new food shipments? Do we need to wipe down boxes and bags?
  7. Once this is all over, will my pet become sad or depressed after we all return to work?
  8. My dog is acting differently now that I am home all the time. She is pooping in the house more often and I can’t figure out why. Could it be related to our changed behavior of being home?
  1. What are ways I could socialize my puppy safely?
  2. What are some fun pet resources to utilize during this time?
  3. What happens to my pet if I get hospitalized?
  4. My dog has an issue, but I’m afraid to go to the vet. Will I be bothering the team? Are routine issues like mine okay to bring in?
  5. What are we supposed to do regarding regular vet care? i.e. anal glands and nail trims.
  6. When can I get my other dog in for shots and what do I do in the meantime?
  7. I’d like to know if elective surgery, (specifically neutering), is still being performed at my vet. My dog is developing some problem behaviors I would like to curb if he is not too young, (9 months)
  8. Should I still come in to buy heart worm, flea, tick medicine or should I buy online?

Veterinarian Services and Pet Care

Pet care is still a reality, with 19% reporting they conducted a wellness check during the outbreak and 6% seeking emergency care

Owners are prepared, with 82% saying they have a copy of pet records

Although, 69% of owners do not have a pet first aid kit at home

Access Additional Data or Speak to Dr. Olcott

For more information from the survey, including state benchmarks, or to speak with Dr. Olcott, email hfields@vitusvet.com.

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*Pet medical records accessibility vary from practice to practice. Consult with your veterinarian to find out specific policies on accessibility and sharing