Coronavirus: How pets have been affected by the pandemic

Insurance claims for sick pets are on the rise during the pandemic. Picture: Shutterstock
Insurance claims for sick pets are on the rise during the pandemic. Picture: Shutterstock

Dogs can't catch COVID-19 - but they are catching a whole host of side-effects as we pamper our pets more because of the epidemic.

When the lockdown started, demand for dogs soared as people in social isolation sought companionship.

But we may be killing them with kindness, according to figures from the pet insurance industry.

Claims for medical treatment for stomach problems and strained ligaments have risen.

One theory the insurance industry is working on is that dogs are being pampered more with harmful treats like chocolate.

On this view, humans are staying home more and sharing snacks with dogs through the day.

Insurance company PetSure chief executive, Alexandra Thomas, cites "too many treats or a change of diet during lockdown".

Ligament problems in the hind-legs of dogs may be because of "over-exercise during lockdown".

It seems, according to the company's figures, that dogs have also become more stressed out because their owners are more at home.

When pet owners go to work in an office, the pet stays home in peace but when people work at home, there is distressing noise and activity.

PetSure reports that:

  • Insurance claims for treating "gastrointestinal conditions" in pets have jumped 40 per cent since the lockdown compared with the same period last year
  • Claims for treating "ingestion of a foreign object" have risen 18 per cent
  • Claims for damaged ligaments have risen by 10 per cent

The chief executive of PetSure surmises that the noisy human activity of working from home, with loud video calls, may add to pets' stress.

Other claims have risen, particularly for pets' cancer treatment and for skin ailments. PetSure thinks this may be because stay-at-home owners now notice illnesses in their pets more.


There are more claims for "ingestion of a foreign object" but this may be because puppy sales have soared and puppies will swallow anything they see.

This story Our pets are paying the price for us working at home instead of the office first appeared on The Canberra Times.