'A dog is for life, not just for lockdown' charity warns

4 May 2020, 06:38

The charity has made the warning over fears of a post-lockdown surge in people abandoning dogs
The charity has made the warning over fears of a post-lockdown surge in people abandoning dogs. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A charity is urging the public to remember "a dog is for life, not just for lockdown" amid fears of a puppy crisis once lockdown is ended.

The Dogs Trust is tweaking its famous slogan "a dog is for life, not just for Christmas" as they ask people to remember the responsibility of dog ownership.

Online searches around buying a puppy have surged by 120 per cent during the coronavirus lockdown.

The charity has said they are concerned there could be a spike in dogs being abandoned when the lockdown ends, similar to their experiences after Christmas when people also purchase dogs on a whim.

Read more: It is 'humanity against the virus' in race for coronavirus vaccine, PM says

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

The charity said Google searches for "buy a puppy" increased by 120% in the month after lockdown was announced, adding that "adopt a puppy" saw an even bigger rise of 133% in online searches, according to data from Propellernet.

Dogs Trust has created an online quiz for potential new dog owners to test themselves on whether they are "dog-ready".

Chief executive Owen Sharp said: "Dog ownership can be so rewarding, but it's also a huge responsibility which is why we are reminding people today that 'a dog is for life, not just for lockdown'.

"Like Christmas, when people are at home more, they might think now is the perfect time to get a dog.

"For some people this will be the case, but we're asking people to consider when the lockdown lifts how your life will need to change to accommodate your four-legged friend.

"We're encouraging potential dog owners to carry out our new test to see if you're dog ready.

"Are you ready to be chief pooper scooper? Are you ready to forego a lie-in ever again? As well as more serious questions around vet treatment and preparing for emergencies."

TV presenter Graham Norton, who owns a labradoodle called Bailey, said: "Don't forget that you still have to walk a dog on a rainy evening, and pick up their poo in the dark!

"Please remember that life will go back to 'normal' at some point with people returning to work and school, and when this happens you need to think about whether you can still fit a dog into your life."

Meanwhile, the Scottish Terrier, more famously known as the "Scottie dog", has experienced a surge of popularity in the first three months of this year and is no longer at risk of dying out, according to the Kennel Club.

Statistics released by the dog welfare organisation indicate a boost for the Scottish terrier, with puppy registrations increasing by 92% in the first few months of 2020 compared to the same period last year, making it the "top riser" so far in the new decade.

Til Tovey, chairman of the Scottish Terrier Club of England, said: "Scottish terriers are affectionate, loyal and intelligent, so we are delighted that this heritage breed seems to be bouncing back from historically low puppy numbers."

Kennel Club spokesman Bill Lambert said there seems to be a shift as owners shun bigger breeds for small, adding: "This could be partly driven by lifestyle changes, where people living in urban environments with busy lifestyles are looking for smaller dogs that require less space, and partly by the dictates of fashion, driven by celebrity, advertising and social media."