Veterinary clinics say the increase is tangible but there is currently enough veterinary capacity for everyone.
"There's more. Not only do we feel this by how many customers come to us at the clinic. Also in official data, the register shows that the number of pets increased by 20% during the pandemic," said Ivo Stulpiņš, executive director of the veterinary clinic, Mazo brāļu hospitālis.
Although the number of pets has increased, there is no need to wait in a long line for a visit to the vet.
"On average, you can get to the doctor the next day. Maybe on the same day if a booking is canceled. It's not a long period of time. Sometimes you might have to wait longer for a specialist – 3 to 4 days, maybe even a week. But it's not about the clinic's load, but our work organization,” Stulpiņš said.
According to Stulpiņš, a significantly higher workload was in the first two months of the war in Ukraine, as all the documents and chips needed to travel were prepared for pets. Customers also wanted advice on traveling with pets.
“It was a more difficult period and we felt it,” Stulpiņš added.
He said the real effects of the pandemic could be seen after several years – the pet boom could end in overcrowded shelters.
“You have to look at what's going to happen five years later in the shelters. Where the circulation begins and ends. Would the pets really live your entire life in the family. But it's practically impossible to track it,” Stulpiņš said.