The new cure for COVID isolation is a pet.

As the pandemic rages on and people spend more and more time at home, a record number of families are adopting cats and dogs. The surge in pet adoptions is helping to clear the cages at animal shelters and even create waiting lists for puppies yet to be born. The demand for pets is also boosting business at veterinarians' offices, pet stores, and pet suppliers. 

Adopting a pet is a great way to keep bored kids busy while teaching them responsibility and empathy, as well as reducing anxiety. Adults can also reap benefits from having a pet. Dogs and cats can provide emotional support and help keep humans entertained while housebound. Daily walks with your pet also help to keep you active.

The demand for pets has been so high, many families are coming up empty-handed when trying to find one. Animal shelters and pet rescues are getting multiple applications for animals in their care, and dog breeders have reported large waiting lists for future litters.

golden retriever puppies

Photo by Chevanon Photography from Pexels

But the increase in pet popularity also has a dark side: theft and irresponsible breeding. In the race to meet the new demand, puppy mills are trying to produce more puppies, resulting in cruel and unhealthy treatment of both mothers and pups. Thefts of dogs and puppies are also on the rise. According to, about two million pets are stolen each year, and only 10 percent make it back home. Thieves steal popular and expensive breeds and then resell the dog online to unsuspecting buyers. Dogs that are not spayed or neutered are also hot targets because they can be sold to breeders and puppy mills.

How can you make sure you are adopting responsibly?

Adopt animals from shelters and rescue organizations. Typically shelters have done everything they can to locate the owner of a missing dog before it goes up for adoption. They will also make you fill out a questionnaire to make sure you and the animal are the right fit for each other. 

Never buy a dog or cat through an online ad. If you’re looking for a specific breed, ask a local veterinarian for the name of a breeder or visit the American Kennel Club website. Once you find a breeder, make sure you visit to see the surroundings and meet the puppy parents. If the breeder won’t let you visit and see the parents, don’t buy the puppy!

Have you adopted a pet during the COVID pandemic? Tell us about your experience in the comments!