Pandemic Puppies.

During the covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, people began buying and adopting dogs in huge numbers.  Many found themselves working from home and decided it was a good time to get that dog they’d always wanted. During lockdown 2020 visits to online sites such as Pets4Homes increased in phenomenal numbers with the Kennel Club reporting a whopping 168% increase in people searching for puppies for sale on their website.

Like many dog related organizations Holidays4Dogs could see this coming – but how bad is it now and how much worse is the dog welfare situation likely to get?

The RSPCA report that they are still bracing themselves for a major welfare crisis this year and they are anticipating dogs being given over to rescue centres, sold on and sadly, abandoned, as people’s circumstances change.

On top of this, the charity has major concerns that dogs will develop behavioural issues, such as separation anxiety, once owners return to work.  Already, behaviour problems are one of the main reasons why people relinquish dogs under normal circumstances, but with so many dogs being used to round the clock company, many are going to struggle when it comes to being left in the house for long periods.

While government ministers are currently considering prosecution for dog theft, they are also debating tougher sentences for people who abandon their pets. Furthermore, the pet theft task force includes plans to punish people who leave their pet at home for extended periods of time.  Whether this will come to fruition and how it can be policed is another matter, but it is at least promising to learn that the situation is on the government’s legislation radar.

Sadly, many people who took on dogs during lockdown were first time dog owners who had no real understanding of just how much time a dog, especially a puppy, can take up.  This was especially so with families who were attempting to work from home and home school children and  many found that a dog added to the mix, was just too much and made their lives far more stressful than they imagined.  Charities such as Dogs Trust have already reported dogs being handed in that have come from these very circumstances.

The demand for puppies has grown in eye watering fashion since early 2020 and because of this; it has increased the number of unscrupulous breeders selling sick dogs to un-suspecting buyers.  This too has impacted on re-homing organizations with people wanting to re-home dogs that they cannot afford the vets bills for.

Many rescue centers, veterinary surgeons, dog trainers and behaviourists are urging people thinking of re-homing their dog post-lockdown, not to give up.  The Dogs Trust has created ‘dog school’ videos to help people learn how to train their dogs and keep them entertained.

There are lots of things you can do before giving up on your dog.  Could you enlist the help of family or friends?  Could you hire a dog walker or sitter?  Joining a dog club is usually inexpensive, but they will be able to support you with training or behaviour issues.

If you really feel that you cannot cope with your lockdown pup, please make sure you contact a reputable re-homing centre.  You may have spent a great deal of money purchasing your puppy, but try to put this down to experience and put the needs of the dog first – after all, with such great demand and so many unscrupulous dog dealers out there, you never know where the dog might end up; it is likely he will end up being passed from pillar to post, especially so, if he has already developed behavioral problems.

While rescue centres are dreading a massive uptick in dogs handed in to them over the coming months, they will still do their utmost to ensure their rescues are re-homed to forever homes.