04.03.2021 15:12:00

Survey Reveals Pandemic Pet Owners Worried About Returning to the Workplace, While Employers Plan to Offer New Pet-Friendly Policies

VANCOUVER, Wash., March 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey from Banfield Pet Hospital – the leading provider of preventive veterinary care and part of the Mars Veterinary Health family of practices – found that owners are concerned about leaving their pets behind when returning to the workplace, and employers are listening.

(PRNewsfoto/Banfield Pet Hospital)

According to Banfield's new survey, 1 in 3 people – and nearly 1 in 2 Gen Zers – say they got a new pet during the pandemic. While quarantine has come with many challenges, it's only brought pets and their people closer together, with nearly 80% saying they were able to bond with their pet more during this time.

Now, pet owners are wondering – and worrying – about what a post-pandemic life may look like for them and their pets. 63% say increased time at home has made them think more about how their pets can fit into their workday post-pandemic, and 57% agree they'll be most happy returning to their workplace if they can bring their pets with them.

While some owners are considering rehoming their pets, Banfield expresses hope and shares resources

Many are hopeful about the prospect of bringing their pets to work with them, but others have concerns about what pet ownership might look like when they can't be home as often. In fact, 1 in 5 owners – including 1 in 3 Gen Zers and 1 in 5 millennials – are considering rehoming their pets if they can't bring them to the office when they return to work.

While these numbers are staggering, Banfield is encouraged by the following:

  • 32% of owners – including 48% of Gen Zers and 35% millennials – said they've recently reached out to their veterinarian for advice on making the transition back to the workplace easier on their pets.
  • Further, 68% of Gen Zers and 42% of millennials plan to hire a dogwalker, take their pet to daycare or do a combination of both once they return to the workplace, which will hopefully relieve some worry for owners about leaving pets at home.
  • Banfield's blog also offers tips to help set owners and pets up for success in 2021.

"At Banfield, we understand that pet ownership is incredibly rewarding, but it also comes with its challenges. Our goal is to not only be there for the tail wags and snuggles, but also to help prevent issues wherever and whenever we can," said Molly McAllister, chief medical officer of Banfield Pet Hospital. "If pet owners are feeling overwhelmed or have questions or concerns, in addition to taking care of your pet's health, veterinary teams can advise on all aspects of caring for your pet to help ensure pets and their families stay together."

In addition to partnering with their veterinarian, if owners are worried about leaving their pets at home when returning to the workplace, Banfield doctors recommend the below tips to help make the transition easier:

  • Ease your pet into a new routine.
  • Avoid emotional departures or greetings.
  • Ensure daily exercise continues.
  • Give your dog a favorite distraction several minutes prior to leaving the house – including long lasting food treats or a favorite toy.

Pet owners and employers alike are thinking about pet-friendly workplaces

1 in 2 C-suite executives surveyed said they're planning to allow pets in the workplace upon return to the office, and 59% said they'll allow more flexibility for workers wanting to stay remote with their pets. Among those who are considering implementing a pet-friendly policy:

  • 59% said they're doing so because of employee requests;
  • 58% cite understanding their staff has gotten used to spending all day with their pets during the pandemic;
  • And 42% say they want to entice their employees back into the office.

Of pet owners who wish to bring their pets to the office:

  • 38% cite being worried their pet will experience separation anxiety;
  • 37% want the companionship of their pet at work;
  • 28% think their pets can help keep them calm during those stressful workdays;
  • And 23% say they'll be more productive with their pet as a desk mate.

With nearly 1 in 2 Gen Zers and 1 in 3 millennials saying they would consider looking for another job post-pandemic if their workplace was not pet-friendly, 20% of business leaders are hoping allowing pets in the office will also increase employee retention.

Considering implementing a pet-friendly policy and not sure where to start? This Pets Work at Work™ Toolkit from Mars Petcare's Better Cities For Pets™ program includes the benefits of pet-friendly workplaces, leadership and legal considerations, tips for communicating the program to employees, and much more. The program also provides a toolkit for businesses like stores, events and restaurants aiming to go pet-friendly.

If business leaders haven't heard from their staff about pets in the workplace yet, there's a good chance they might. 71% of Gen Zers and 48% millennials have or are planning to reach out to their employer requesting they implement a pet-friendly policy once offices open back up. With 75% of C-suite execs saying being a pet owner has made them a better, more compassionate business leader, it's likely these requests will be carefully considered.

"We've seen the human-animal bond only get stronger during the pandemic, and it's no surprise that owners are thinking about how they can best be here for their pets when they start to spend more time outside of home," said Brian Garish, president of Banfield Pet Hospital. "We believe we can advance human health through pet health, elevating societal well-being. That's why we'll continue to be here for pets and their owners as they adjust to this next normal, providing high-quality preventive care, no matter what 2021 brings."

Executives make the case for pet-friendly policies

According to survey findings, C-suite executives have good reason to believe a pet-friendly policy will come with benefits. While the pandemic likely led to many leaders considering pets in the workplace for the first time, there were a number of employers (48%) who already had a policy in place. Of those:

  • 67% saw increased socializing between employees when pets were around;
  • 61% say employees were more willing to come to work;
  • 42% saw increased productivity among staff;
  • 41% say employees were more willing to stay at work later;
  • 31% saw increased retention;
  • And 24% say employees seem happier in the office/workplace.

Allowing pets to tag along with their owners to work isn't the only benefit employers are offering. In fact:

  • 45% provide financial support for veterinary care;
  • 37% offer pet bereavement leave;
  • 41% offer "pet-ernity" leave for new pet owners;
  • And 40% also offer paid time off to take a pet to the veterinarian.

This survey was conducted by OnePoll in partnership with Banfield Pet Hospital.

About Banfield Pet Hospital® 

Banfield Pet Hospital was founded in Portland, Ore. in 1955 and today is a pioneer in preventive veterinary care with more than 1,000 general veterinary hospitals in 42 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Mexico. More than 3,600 Banfield veterinarians are committed to providing high-quality veterinary care to over three million pets annually. Banfield collects data from each of these visits in the U.S.'s largest electronic veterinary health records system.  Our goal is to be here for pets, people and society. As part of the Mars Veterinary Health family of practices, Banfield is committed to its purpose—A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS®—because pets make a better world for us. Press seeking additional information are invited to call the  Media Hotline: (888) 355-0595. 

About Better Cities for Pets

Better Cities for Pets™ is a research-based program created by Mars Petcare in partnership with experts in city planning and key government stakeholders to help communities be more pet-friendly. It offers best practices and policy recommendations to help end pet homelessness, encourage pet-friendly housing and make pets welcome in public spaces. The program includes a playbook for pet-friendliness, city certification program and online resources. More info at BetterCitiesForPets.com.


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SOURCE Banfield Pet Hospital

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