Fears Of Major Dog Welfare Crisis After Rising Puppy Demand During Lockdown
Over the course of three lockdowns in the last year, interest in owning a pet has risen exponentially in the UK, but national animal charities are worried there’s a crisis on the horizon. Owning a pet is a massive responsibility; in the case of dogs, there are even legal requirements such as having the animal microchipped so it can be identified in future with a microchip scanner for dogs if lost or stolen. If a microchip scanner can’t find your dog’s chip, you could be liable for a £5,000 fine. Worse than that, you might never get your pet back if it can’t find its own way home or has been taken to be sold by an unscrupulous dealer.
The increased interest in acquiring new pets started in late March 2020, after the announcement of the first lockdown. People furloughed or working from home saw the hiatus in their normal, everyday busy lives as a prompt to add a pet to the family.
During the pandemic restrictions and lockdowns, for instance, Google searches in the UK for pets showed a 650% increase, with 15,000 searches in July 2020 compared to just 2,000 in January of last year. And visits to the RSPCA’s Find A Pet online service surged to over 3.7 million visitors, a 129% increase when compared to figures for October 2019.
Rory Cowlam, an ambassador for the RSPCA and a fully qualified vet, expressed concerns that some new owners may not have properly thought through the commitment a pet represents, which could lead to an eventual rise in dogs being abandoned. He also cited the rising demand for dogs, and the accompanying hike in prices, as possible impetuses for increases in puppy thefts, puppy farming and irresponsible breeding practices.
The RSPCA has already seen a rise in reports of abandoned dogs and fear more is to come as the UK begins its slow emergence from lockdown conditions and restrictions. Some people will soon start to return to their pre-pandemic routines while others will be increasingly hit by reduced economic circumstances.
Dog ownership might not hold the attraction it previously did, resulting in a further increase in requests to rehome the family pet. Worse than that, there could be a huge spike in the numbers of mistreated or abandoned dogs.
Also of concern are the possible implications of buying puppies from unlicensed sellers or breeders. These animals could be stolen, leading to difficult decisions and heartache if it’s later found through use of a microchip scanner for dogs that your pet rightfully belongs to someone else. And dogs bred for profit often have hidden health or behavioural problems that can make them unsuitable for family life.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr. Samantha Gains said that while it was great to see families actively looking for a pet to adopt, the charity is still urging them to consider the long-term commitment that comes with taking care of a dog for the rest of its life, especially after the lockdowns end.
If you do choose to make a canine addition to your family, it’s well worth considering the many benefits of rehoming from a recognised and responsible animal charity, like the RSPCA, Dogs Trust, or an animal sanctuary in your local area. Not least of these benefits is the fact that your pet will often already be microchipped, ensuring that anyone with a microchip scanner can identify the dog as yours if it’s ever lost or stolen.
Be the Best Dog Owner You Can Be
Most of us are highly responsible, loving and caring dog owners who understand the many implications of looking after a pet for their entire lifetime. There are often challenges along the way, though. One of the big issues during the last year has been securing pet food and other necessary supplies under lockdown restrictions.
SmartBreeder is an online seller of pet supplies, stocking a huge range of products and offering services like educational courses so you and your dog can have all you need for a long and happy life together. Buy nutrition, grooming and fertility products, as well as microchip scanners and even training courses, all on our website at https://smartbreeder.com/.
If you’ve been looking for a worthwhile partner in caring for your beloved pet, visit our store today to get started.