Did you finish lockdown and get a new puppy? Or was it an adorable tabby cat that came home from the SPCA with you? You wouldn’t be the only one - a new study shows Google searches for cat and dog adoptions peaked in April last year, shortly after Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic.
The global study looked at Google search trends for pet, cat and dog adoptions from 2015 to 2020. Between April and May 2020, searches related to the terms hit an all time high - up 250 percent on the same period the previous year.
A breakdown by country also shows Australians were the busiest in their online pet hunting at the time, while New Zealanders ranked fourth after those in the US and Canada.
Cat lovers also appeared to be the most loyal - with searches relating to cat adoptions remaining relatively high all through 2020. On the other hand, searches for dog adoptions returned to average levels by the end of the year.
The study, published in the Frontiers in Veterinary Science journal this week, says the benefits of the bond between humans and pets are well known. Companion animals can minimise stress during times of uncertainty, the study says. They can also help alleviate depression and anxiety during periods of social isolation - all significant features of the pandemic.
It also highlights some of the potential issues that come with returning to a more regular way of life. Separation anxiety and possible abandonment of newly adopted pets are things to look out for moving forward, the study says.