Pandemic Pets: Did Canada see a pandemic pet boom?

On Saturday, my spouse and I are welcoming a new addition to our family: a puppy!

Since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted a dog but my parents weren’t really dog people and I’m quite allergic to cats so the only pets we ever were had were fish.

Like many other Canadians, the pandemic caused us to finally take the dive into dog ownership and we are beyond thrilled about the love and companionship that our new puppy, Chestnut, will bring to our family.

As we approach what is hopefully the final months of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to explore the extent to which Canadians welcomed new pets into their home over the past 15 months. I also wanted to know what pets bring to people’s lives. And because our team is fascinated by all things political, I wanted to explore whether there are political differences between those who own different kinds of pets.

Here are the highlights of what our survey of 1,500 Canadian adults (completed from June 4 to 9, 2021) found:

Over half of Canadians have at least one pet.

56% of Canadians say they have at least one pet in their household with dogs and cats being the most popular.

Pet ownership is higher in Quebec, Atlantic Canada, and Ontario and less likely in the Prairies and in BC.

About equal numbers own a cat or a dog.

32% of Canadians report owning a dog while 31% own a cat. Far fewer have fish (6%), rodents (3%) or birds (3%) as pets.

Interestingly, there are almost no demographic differences in the type of pet people own. Those under 44 are as likely to own a cat or dog as those 45 and over. Women are slightly more likely to own a pet than men (59% vs. 54%) and more likely to own a cat (36% vs. 28% among men).

Pandemic Pets: 3% of Canadians got a pet over the pandemic that didn’t have one before.

About 900,000 Canadian adults got a pet since the start of the pandemic who didn’t have one before it – 3% of the population.

Almost all pet owners believe their pets bring joy into their lives and improve their quality of life.

It’s almost unanimous – pet owners believe pets bring joy into their lives and have improved their quality of life. Almost all consider their pet or pets to be members of their family.

Does the type of pet you have impact your vote?

The short answer is no. Those who own pets would vote in a federal election in a similar way to those who don’t own pets. And we don’t see much difference between dog, cat, rodent, or bird owners either.


Most Canadians own a pet and almost all believe pets bring joy and companionship into their lives. Their pets are considered members of their families.

The pandemic also sparks a small pet boom with almost 900,000 Canadians welcoming a pet into their homes who didn’t have one before.

Based on the reaction from friends and others when I shared news of our new furry family member, these results make sense. I can’t wait until we welcome Chestnut into our family this weekend.


The survey was conducted with 1,500 Canadian adults from June 4 to 9, 2021. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.6%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

This poll was conducted and paid for by Abacus Data.


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