How Pet-Related Businesses are Being Affected by COVID-19

Josh Feinkind
5 min readJan 15, 2021

From work, to education, to even our pets, COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our lives. Through difficult times such as these, where most of the effects are negative, there are also a few positives worth noting. Sometimes, the hardships even spark innovation that can change industries for the better and force us to keep changing with the times. Here are how some pet-related businesses have been affected by COVID-19.

Photo by Ying Ge

Increase in Adoptions

COVID has led to a few surprising positives, such as the increase in pet adoptions and the clearing out of many animal shelters. Caroline Vaught, owner of “Cat & Craft” cat cafe in San Diego said “The repeat shut downs that began in March have been extremely challenging.. we transitioned the cat lounge to a virtual format via a video feed of the cats available… The good news is we’ve facilitated a record number of adoptions for our rescue partner LYFF during this time. Truly the silver lining of COVID is how many people have decided to open their hearts and homes to a new friend during this time.”

Abhishek, from “DogWithBlog”, has experienced the same. This pet blogger said “We run a pet adoption and rehabilitation service for abandoned or homeless dogs. In the aftermath of the pandemic, we have seen an increase in the number of inquiries and adoptions. The first wave of covid-19 and lockdown saw a phenomenal spike in queries as people came to terms with isolation… but we had to ensure that pet adoption wasn’t a fad and took inquiries through a detailed reckoner on what pet ownership entails — nearly 15% of leads backed out but still, this has been one of the best years for adoptions.”

This is great news for crowded animal shelters that are constantly striving to place pets in good homes. However, shelters and rescues still need volunteers and donations now more than ever as many vets and clinics have been closed. The closures and limited hours of clinics has been negatively affecting the spay and neuter efforts of many volunteers which may overwhelm the rescues with even more kittens than usual in the near future. Hopefully this trend continues and people continue to adopt.

Boom in Online Sales

As more and more animals are being adopted, many new pet owners need to stock up on pet supplies and food, leading to an increase in sales for companies in the pet industry. Since most of us are trying to stay home and out of stores as much as possible, online retailers are seeing the biggest boom! This unforeseen demand in pet supplies is great for online retailers, especially small US based businesses, like The Refined Feline, but it has also posed new problems. “As cat adoption rates have increased and people are staying home more, we’re seeing a huge increase in luxury cat furniture sales,” said Josh Feinkind, founder of The Refined Feline, designer of modern cat furniture. “However, our biggest issue has been supply chain related as ports have been backed up for weeks as well as fulfillment issues since warehouse employees have been calling in sick.

All things considered, selling out of product is much better than not selling product at all and this small business is adapting by taking pre-orders for certain products as well as notifying customers when products are back in stock.

The Vet Industry is Changing

For some pets, going to the vet has always been a stressful endeavor, even before COVID-19 entered the picture. Now, with owners not being able to go inside with their furry friends for their visit, it can be almost unbearable for some pets. Fortunately, the industry is adapting with companies like Airvet leading the way.

“Airvet is a new telemedicine app that offers face to face, virtual “hands on” care, consultation and advice from licensed vets nationwide. Since its inception in 2019, Airvet has helped over 100,000 pets live healthy and happy lives.” Thanks to this app, “pets and parents have 24/7 access to quality care with the most trusted veterinarians anywhere in the country within seconds. In this time of COVID and quarantine, it’s good to know that our furry family members are also being taken care of. “ — Susan from Airvet.

Boarding and Doggy Day Cares are suffering

As one could imagine, boarding and dog daycare businesses have been hit hard by COVID restrictions. Kevin Irish, the owner of the Paw Spa, is one of many kennel owners who have been struggling. Irish says, “People aren’t traveling so they’re not leaving their dogs.” Irish previously managed two locations, but he recently had to shut one down. Although these types of businesses can continue to operate, they are being forced to follow strict requirements.

For example, only one client is being allowed on the property at a time. That means appointments must be made even for pickups and drop-offs. This is just one of the many hoops these businesses are having to jump through. Hopefully, with all of the new adoptions, these businesses will make a comeback in the near future and be able to make up for lost revenues.

Dog Walking isn’t needed

The dog walking business has also been hurting. This is partly due to more owners staying at home, eliminating the need to hire someone else to walk their dogs.Green Dog is a pet care business that offers dog walking services. Before COVID, the company regularly scheduled 35–40 walks per day. After COVID, that number shrank to 3–4 walks per day.

The owner of Green Dog, Pilar More, says, “It is hard to predict if we will ever even regain those [walking] numbers, especially as many people do not anticipate returning to their workplaces as they previously had.”

In Conclusion

Though few and far between, there have been a few positive effects from COVID-19. While it’s unfortunate that many pet-related companies are suffering from the many negative consequences, it’s also encouraging to see these companies forging ahead and hopefully rebounding in the near future.

We can’t predict what the future holds for the pet care industry, but we do know that people will always love their pets. That is why this industry will hopefully not just survive, but thrive. As long as companies continue to innovate and find new ways to create and sell their products and services, they will never be in short supply of animal-loving customers.

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Josh Feinkind
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Designer of high end cat and dog furniture for over 15 years at https://www.TheRefinedFeline.com. Recipient of Pet Age's 40 under 40 award.