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Locking down the impact of New Zealand's COVID-19 alert level changes on pets

By F. Esam, R. Forrest, N. Waran

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on human-pet interactions within New Zealand, particularly during lockdown, was investigated via two national surveys. In Survey 1, pet owners (n = 686) responded during the final week of the five-week Alert Level 4 lockdown (highest level of restrictions - April 2020), and survey 2 involved 498 respondents during July 2020 whilst at Alert Level 1 (lowest level of restrictions). During the lockdown, 54.7% of owners felt that their pets' wellbeing was better than usual, while only 7.4% felt that it was worse. Most respondents (84.0%) could list at least one benefit of lockdown for their pets, and they noted pets were engaged with more play (61.7%) and exercise (49.7%) than pre-lockdown. Many respondents (40.3%) expressed that they were concerned about their pet's wellbeing after lockdown, with pets missing company/attention and separation anxiety being major themes. In Survey 2, 27.9% of respondents reported that they continued to engage in increased rates of play with their pets after lockdown, however, the higher levels of pet exercise were not maintained. Just over one-third (35.9%) of owners took steps to prepare their pets to transition out of lockdown. The results indicate that pets may have enjoyed improved welfare during lockdown due to the possibility of increased human-pet interaction. The steps taken by owners to prepare animals for a return to normal life may enhance pet wellbeing long-term if maintained.

Date 2021
Publication Title Animals
Volume 11
Issue 3
Pages 15
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani11030758
URL https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2615/11/3/758/htm
Language English
Author Address Companion Animals New Zealand, Wellington 6141, New Zealand.fiona@companionanimals.nz rforrest@eit.ac.nz nwaran@eit.ac.nz
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Anthrozoology
  5. APEC countries
  6. Australasia
  7. Behavioral research
  8. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  9. Commonwealth
  10. Developed countries
  11. Exercise
  12. Human behavior
  13. Humans
  14. Impact
  15. Infectious diseases
  16. Interactions
  17. Mammals
  18. Men
  19. Nations
  20. New Zealand
  21. Oceania
  22. OECD countries
  23. Pandemics
  24. pathogens
  25. pet care
  26. Pets and companion animals
  27. Primates
  28. Relationships
  29. surveys
  30. vertebrates
  31. Veterinary sciences
  32. Virus diseases
  33. Zoology