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.
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.
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”.
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.