WASHINGTON D.C. — The American Pet Products Association (APPA) on June 8 released the results of a nationwide survey detailing adaptations made by the pet care industry to adjust to a “new normal” during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 75% of businesses surveyed reported they have remained open throughout the pandemic in some capacity, while taking necessary precautions to ensure customer, employee and animal health and safety.

For example, 75% of respondents said they have increased sanitation measures, 72% said they have provided PPE to their employees and 61% have installed hand sanitizer stations.

Additionally, 56% of those surveyed have limited the number of employees or customers inside their businesses, and another 40% of businesses said they are increasing the distance between workspaces to adhere to social distancing recommendations.

“The new and extensive protection measures being implemented throughout the pandemic aptly demonstrate the ongoing commitment of the responsible pet care community to the safety and well-being of humans and pets,” said Steve King, chief executive officer of APPA.

Some companies have also given back to their communities by providing care packages to pet owners impacted by COVID-19, switching their capabilities to produce facemasks or protective gear for first responders, and using their supply chains to distribute hand sanitizer to pet retailers and distributors.

“Pet stores are more than just a place to shop for their customers but also provide a much-needed sense of community for pet owners,” said Vic Mason, president of the World Pet Association. “As the public emerges from quarantines, they can be confident that the responsible pet care community has put in place extensive safety protocols to ensure safe shopping experiences for all.”

Timely adaptation seems to be the key to surviving the pandemic for many businesses, whether that means adding e-commerce capabilities, curb-side pickup and home delivery options, or focusing more financial reserves to emergency and disaster funding.

“The pet industry is essential to the daily life of millions of American households and their pets,” said Celeste Powers, president of PIDA. “By responding quickly to the crisis and ensuring continuous and safe access to essential pet products and services, we have shown the way forward for the economy at large.”

The survey collected sentiments from more than 500 members of the industry, from retailers to product manufacturers, distributors and veterinarians, all of which are members of APPA, PIJAC, WPA or PIDA.

Follow our breaking news coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation.