We recently reported that the demand for puppies has increased significantly during the lockdown. Now that we can see a light at the end of the tunnel and people are returning to work and normality. However, there are fears that there will be a flood of unwanted dogs at animal shelters. How are those dogs going to cope?
The Dog’s Trust is warning of a rehoming crisis as they received nearly 2,000 calls from dog owners enquiring about rehoming their pets in the last 3 months of 2020.
The charity’s chief executive Owen Sharp said that while the expected surge of unwanted dogs being handed to them has yet to happen, “we believe the worst is yet to come”.
Sharp said many people might suddenly find themselves struggle to cope when the furlough schemes and lockdown restrictions finally come to an end.
He added: “It’s no surprise that during the pandemic there has been a huge demand for dogs, as more people have been at home with time to care for a new family member of the canine kind.”
How much care does a dog need?
It is a common dream to own a dog. For many, a dog completes the family. So it’s not surprising that when the country was locked down and people found themselves with time on their hands that they decided to realise a lifetime’s dream of dog ownership.
Unfortunately, many of the new dog owners were either first-time dog owners or had forgotten how demanding a puppy can be:
- Exercise for 1 – 2 hours-a-day
- doggy daycare
Exercise for 1 – 2 hours a day isn’t too hard when you’re working from home or there’s little else to do. But that soon changes when school or work responsibilities encroach on your time. Housetraining is time-consuming and can be frustrating. Try this whilst you are working full-time hours can be all but impossible.
Doggy daycare may be the solution. However, this introduces another financial element to dog ownership that may not have been anticipated.
What should struggling dog owners do?
We are urging any owners that are struggling to care for a puppy/dog to speak with their local shelter or rescue centre. They may be able to provide advice on training and dog socialisation to overcome issues such as separation anxiety or aggression.
If re-homing is the most suitable course of action, we are asking owners to be responsible and surrender their dog to a shelter. It may be tempting to try to recoup financial losses by selling the puppy online. However, since April 2020 the third party sale of puppies has been banned in England. Only breeders and rescue centres can sell puppies directly.
Rescue Centres will protect your dog’s welfare
In the same way that you can’t guarantee the health of a dog bought from a puppy farm, you can’t guarantee that your dog will be well looked after if you sell him/her.
A shelter will understand that life doesn’t always go according to plan. No matter your situation they will listen without making any kind of judgement. They are experienced in finding suitable permanent homes. This is something you can’t guarantee if you attempt to re-home the dog yourself.
What should you do if you are considering buying a puppy?
We urge anyone thinking about getting a puppy, consider what life may be like in six months. Not what life is like today under lockdown restrictions. If anyone in the family is unsure that dog ownership is right for them or that they feel now isn’t the right time it is best to wait a few months.
Waiting 6 months is better than having to go through the stress of having to surrender a puppy because you or your family couldn’t cope. If you take the time to wait and you find that you still want to have a dog, you may be right.