This guest blog post is brought to you by Digs for Dogs, who specialise in pet services such as dog walking, home boarding and pet taxi services across the North West. You may have seen news articles or heard talk of the huge increase in puppy sales during the COVID-19 pandemic; now, not only is there a "puppy shortage" in the UK, there has also been a rise in online scams, inflated puppy prices and young dogs being surrendered to rescue centres, as people return to normal busy lives and no longer have time for their "pandemic pup". I spoke to Georgie from Digs for Dogs to find out what she had to say about these issues, and gain insight into what options may be available for owners returning to work, and also for dog lovers who can't commit to a dog full time.
"Further to our Puppies of the Pandemic blog back in April, when we talked of the sudden rise in rehoming requests for pets, it has now been announced that there is a ‘Puppy Shortage’ in the UK! First it was pasta & loo roll, now this - whatever will be next?!
Puppy prices have been forced to rise over the past few months and the waiting lists are four times longer than normal, with the Kennel Club advising that there is now a 12-month wait for some breeds.
Dr Sam Gaines, a welfare expert at the RSPCA, said 'What's particularly sad is there is this huge demand for puppies and literally thousands of dogs sitting in rescue centres being overlooked.'
'We may end up with people having to make a very difficult decision to give their dog up and we are concerned there could be a lot of pets brought into the RSPCA or other animal welfare organisations.' says Dr Gaines.
If you know you can’t commit to having a dog full time, there are other options out there. Fostering is great and helps dogs prepare for domestic life, raising their chances of future adoption! Or you could become a home boarder which will bring you all the benefits of having a dog at home, but without the full-time responsibility of owning one yourself - the perfect solution!
Another big concern is that due to the lockdown these puppies may not have had the essential training they need at a young age. Puppies need to be exposed to a whole range of sights, sounds, people and other animals to make sure they don't grow up to be fearful or aggressive, experts say. Further to this, being with our dogs for such a long period of time over these past few months could cause them to show behaviours known as ‘separation anxiety’. Puppies need to be taught when they’re young that it’s OK to be on their own and have a little bit of independence from their owners. If you are returning to work soon, start to prepare your dog now by leaving them in another room for part of the day, so they can get used to you not being there all the time and ensure you have someone to walk your dog whilst you are gone all day.
Separation-related problems are extremely common in dogs, and it is very difficult to know how dogs will behave when their owners return to their normal routine - every dog may react differently. If you are concerned, perhaps consider investing in a pet camera as this can give you a good idea of how they are feeling when you are away from home.
One of the best things to help avoid separation anxiety is to ensure you are following a comforting routine with your dog. Create a place for them to go to that makes them feel safe, leave the radio on or try a Pet Playlist on Spotify, you can also use feeding puzzles which will keep them entertained and teach them that good things happen when you leave. Having a trustworthy and professional dog walker who is flexible and has a fantastic reputation is extremely important, and it would be good to start enquiring now so your pup can become familiar with them if you need to leave them for any length of time.
Finally, when the world reopens and you can take that long awaited holiday, you need to be confident that your four-legged friend will receive the same amount of love and attention that they are used to. Digs for Dogs provides the perfect alternative to kennels with a Dog Home Boarding service, expertly matching your dog with a loving home boarder to give you complete peace of mind that your pet is cared for whilst you’re away."
If you are looking for a dog walker in your area, you can >>Find your local Digs for Dogs branch here<<