To adopt or not to adopt a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic

Pixabay

Pixabay

Arianne Gonzalez, Arts & Culture Editor

People who are now stuck indoors due to the coronavirus have seen the stay-at-home orders as an opportunity to take care of a furry, four-legged friend.

It’s nice to have a companion amid all the isolation and social distancing that is currently going on, but it’s important to remember that pets aren’t just temporary companions — they are long-term friends.

According to Bloomberg, there is currently a shortage of pets to foster or adopt in New York City alone. Animal shelters like Muddy Paws Rescue and Best Friends Animal Society have reported a surge in applications for fostering pets. In Los Angeles, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals saw a 70% increase in animals going to foster care.

As much as there is a great urge to adopt a pet, there are numerous factors to consider, and pros and cons to tally. One main concern to pause and think about is the expense of pet care.

Health care for pets, for example, is a serious consideration. In 2018, Americans spent $18.11 billion on veterinary care. Health care considerations can be anything from preventative care like vaccinations, emergency care or even care for constant health problems like skin infections or cancers, according to The New York Times. With human health care reaching more than $1 trillion in that same year, it is important to consider how veterinary care factors into the health care of the entire household.

Food is another factor of expense. According to the American Pet Products Association, $36.9 billion was spent on pet foods and treats in the United States in 2019. Pet food will become part of one’s household expenses because these furry friends will become part of the family.

Providing tender, loving care and time to one’s pet are important factors to consider as well. Right now, people who are working and relaxing at home would be able to sufficiently give the attention that their pet needs. However, after the coronavirus stay-at-home orders are ended and people return to their normal lives — whatever normal after this pandemic entails — some will no longer have time to look after their pets.

Would it be better to then, just foster a pet instead of adopting? It depends.

Fostering provides a temporary home for pets until they’re ready for adoption. On one hand, the commitment would be much shorter than adopting and therefore, the cost would be less expensive. Since fostering is temporary, it would probably be a better arrangement in these uncertain times and can provide comfort to both humans and animals.

The downside to fostering is potentially getting emotionally attached and facing the heartbreaking realization of having to return the pet. Many foster owners end up permanently adopting the pet they foster, but not everyone has the resources or time to make that decision.

Whatever choice future pet parents decide to make, it’s important that they have the best interests of both themselves and their pet in mind.