Who Brought the Dogs In?
An FTI Consulting Internal Investigation into Dog Adoptions Since COVID-19
Several of our colleagues in FTI Consulting’s Forensic & Litigation Consulting segment, from offices throughout the United States, have adopted pets since stay-at-home orders have been implemented.
Also, we have seen articles about pet shelters emptying of animals as they were all adopted.1 The apparent health benefits of having a pet have long been studied2 and, given the current potential for increased anxiety and depression, an increase in pet ownership seems like one positive outcome of COVID-19. We decided to dig into the data a little further and analyze this trend.
Analysis and Findings
We initially noted that YouTube channels featuring dogs saw a general increase between January 1 and April 16, 2020. It appears people cannot get enough of cute puppies, even virtually.
In addition, according to Google Trends, terms such as “adopt dog,” “dog adoption,” “foster dog,” and “pet adoption” saw a spike in searches on March 22-28, 2020, approximately week two of many state lockdowns. New York City appeared to have the highest number of searches for these terms, followed by Phoenix and San Antonio.
Searching for pets to adopt does not necessarily mean more were adopted, however. We then obtained data from Petpoint, a subsidiary of Pethealth Inc. Petpoint provides data management software for shelters and rescue organizations and publishes information on the monthly demand for dogs and cats available for adoption. According to the Petpoint data, dog adoptions as a percent of new dogs to shelters were between 53-56 percent for the period of March 16 to April 12, 2019.