For many of us lockdown means more time at home, and if you've been thinking about getting a pet, it may seem like the ideal time.
But animal charities, including The Kennel Club, are urging people to think twice before committing.
As one of the UK’s biggest dog welfare organisations, it is warning people to consider whether a dog would fit into their lifestyle once lockdown restrictions are relaxed.
It comes after searches for new puppies via the Kennel Club’s “Find a Puppy” tool increased by 53% from February to March, with the biggest spike seen in the week leading up to lockdown.
The top three most searched for breeds were Labradors, Cocker Spaniels and Golden Retrievers.
In Wales rescue centres say they’ve been inundated with calls from people looking to adopt a dog in the past few weeks.
it’s not the ideal time to get a dog it really isn’t with everything going on. People don’t know what their health situation is going to be like as the weeks go on. We’ve taken dogs in where owners have been taken into hospital sadly and also where owners have died so none of us know what the future’s going to hold, its a very uncertain time. We know theres a huge demand because we’ve got masses of people contacting us wanting to adopt. >
The RSPCA says social distancing during the lockdown period could make socialising puppies very difficult.
But charities say if you’re are still considering committing there are a few things to think about first.
First of all it’s really important to think about will they actually fit into your lifestyle when things do go back to normal. Have you got enough time to take them for walks? If you do get a puppy in this time think about all the difficulties and all the differences about life now, and do your best to prepare for when things go back to normal.
Dogs Trust has also issued advice to current dog owners to prevent what they call a “ticking time bomb” of separation anxiety issues, once lockdown restrictions are eventually lifted.
It’s thought around a third of UK dogs suffer from some form of separation issue.
The charity says if your dog is used to being left alone usually, you should continue to leave them for periods during the day so they don’t “lose the ability to cope”.
We’re quite worried there’s going to be a rebound effect for those dogs that have separation problems because they would normally have been worried and now their expectation is not to be left as soon as we start leaving them again I think that’s going to get much worse
Here are Dogs Trust's Top Tips to help anxious dogs:
Make sure your dog has a comfy bed where they can relax in peace
Give them something to occupy them, like a long-lasting treat or toy
While your dog is enjoying their treat, take a couple of steps to the other side of the room. If your dog stays where they are, wait a moment, then go back and reward them with an extra treat.
Increase the distance you move away and the time you wait before returning
You should soon be able to leave the room and close the door or gate
Progress to spending more time in a different room
Build this into daily routine
If your dog shows signs of stress, leave them for a shorter period or don't move so far away next time.