Health and Fitness

Dogs Are Helping Filipinos Cope With the Pandemic, Proving Once More That We Don't Deserve Dogs

Give them all the treats.

Leave it to man’s best friend to get us through a global pandemic. Pets have always been the companions that get us through the toughest moments, and it looks like they helped us the most during the pandemic. According to data aggregator iPrice Group, Filipinos are Googling pets more than any other country in the region in 2021 with about seven million searches as of September. That’s 118 percent higher than searches in 2019. 

Whether Filipinos are interested in getting a pet or just want to look at them, it’s clear that animal companionship is a healthy, go-to coping mechanism for Filipinos during the pandemic. However, according to the data, it looks like Filipinos are a little more biased toward dogs though, as they received over five times more interest in dogs than cats. Searches for dogs for adoptions or for sale were five times higher than for cats. 

Some of the users searching about cats and dogs are clearly pushing through with their intentions and actually adopting these four-legged companions. According to iPrice, the pandemic has actually increased interest in pet supplies with a 144 percent bump up from just 400,000 in 2020 to over one million this year.

Photo by iPrice.

This sudden and strong interest in pets is certainly a good thing for the new pet owners that need the companionship they provide, but it might not indicate good news for everything else. iPrice said it observed "direct correlations between the demand for pets and the gravity of COVID infections/government restrictions in the countries.” Based on its study, which also analyzed behavior in other Southeast Asian studies, searches for pets decreased in Vietnam when the country began to recover from the pandemic. Meanwhile, Singapore’s interest in pets decreased in 2021 as the country loosened up all restrictions. 

Could our avid interest in dogs just be a symptom of mental health fatigue from the pandemic? We can’t exactly confirm this, but we do know one thing: dogs really are the best medicine. 

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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