Survey reveals:

Pets helping Kiwis deal with pandemic; increased pet adoption

Research completed last week of 1,000+ New Zealand pet parents reveals the vast extent to which their fur babies have provided comfort throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, New Zealanders have been returning the favour by saving more animals via adoption.

Not only did more than one in eight respondents (12%) say they took on a new pet due to COVID, nearly three in four say it helped in coping with a most unusual and difficult year.

The opt-in online research by local pet insurance provider PD Insurance shows 74% of respondents credited their pet with helping them through the pandemic. The ways they helped include inspiring regular (34%) or increased (18%) exercise, supporting (56%) or improving (32%) mental health, providing comfort (50%) and a calming presence (38%), and making homes less stifling (56%). 6% even said the pet had helped their children fight less while at home.

PD Insurance is an innovative new pet insurance provider in the New Zealand market. It offers simple, flexible and affordable dog and cat health cover, including third party liability cover.

Pets a source of comfort and stability

“Pets are a key member of the majority of local families and they’re clearly a source of support and stability, particularly when people are under pressure,” says Michelle Le Long, PD Insurance Head of New Zealand Operations.

“2020 has been a year like no other and many Kiwis are recognising the vast benefits of bringing a fur baby into their homes and their lives. It’s wonderful to see how many animals have played a huge role in helping us successfully navigate these unprecedented times.”

Le Long says the survey confirms the findings of what multiple pieces of research around the world have demonstrated – and what every person with a pet in their family knows.

“The truth about cats, dogs and other pets is they are so much more than playthings. They’ve been shown to provide support for those with mental health challenges[1], help with post-traumatic stress disorder[2], and reduce stress and anxiety[3],” she says.

“It’s no surprise, then, that Kiwis have more pets post-COVID. The pandemic’s effects have proven stressful for many of us and we’ve instinctively sought out support from animals.”

Anxiety around healthcare needs

However, what can provide anxiety for pet parents is animal health care costs. 53% of respondents say they either can’t (18%) or aren’t sure (35%) if they can afford a $1000+ vet bill. Concerning findings when 16% of respondents who have/have had insurance say they’d claimed $2,500-$5,000 in just one year from their insurer and another 4% had claimed more.

It’s not only healthcare for furry family members that can generate unexpected costs: 14% of respondents confirm they’d had to pay for damage caused by a pet to a rental they’ve lived in.

“As a pet parent, you’re responsible for the health, wellbeing and actions of your fur babies in the same way any other parent is responsible for their children,” Le Long points out.

“And unfortunately, sooner or later your pet will need medical attention. When that happens, the last thing you want to worry about is access to immediate, quality care or the nightmare of bills that blow the budget.”

She describes New Zealand’s pet parents as underinsured, with just 15% of respondents indicating their furry family members are covered by any sort of pet insurance policy.

Safeguards are lacking

Le Long notes, “Part of the problem is that many people just aren’t aware of pet insurance or they’re unsure what’s covered because policy wording can be so confusing. Which is why PD Insurance provides simple, jargon-free plans. Then there are perceptions around pricing; while a hefty vet bill is almost inevitable, insurance is available for as little as a dollar a day.”

PD Insurance has launched into the local market as a specialist solely focused on offering pet insurance. It combines digital technology with simple, affordable, quality policies, making it easy for pet parents to get an online quote in minutes, and insure their cat and/or dog fast.

The company’s goal is to empower pet parents to make easy, quick, care-based decisions around their pet’s health without worrying about cost. Unique to the market is its month-to-month payment model whereby customers aren’t locked into a contract, so they can cancel anytime without penalty.

“We’ve tailored our offering to pet parents who want easy insurance paired with fast and fair claims resolutions. New Zealanders love their dogs and cats, and we’re here to make sure your pet gets the care it deserves with no-hassle, high value cover,” concludes Le Long.

More survey insights

Further survey findings include:

  • Of the 12% of respondents who took on one or more new pets due to COVID, 46% obtained one or more pets from a rescue centre/shelter, 36% a breeder, 19% brought in a stray and 17% inherited a pet
  • For one third of the 12% it was their first pet
  • A further 11% of Kiwis who were already pet parents didn’t take on a new pet due to COVID but considered doing so
  • 11% of respondents say both they and their pet/s had experienced separation anxiety as restrictions lifted, 12% say just their pet/s had and 5% say only they had
  • 42% of respondents say they spend $1,000 or more on their pet/s per year, excluding any vet costs. 4% spend $5,000 or more

Media contact

Leandri Smith – The Mail Room
027 365 9003 | [email protected]