Published onMay 7 2021
During the pandemic over one third (35%) of young adults (age 24-35) have already embarked on lives as new pet owners – or are planning to add a pet to their families.
Demand for dogs surged as many people were looking for companionship as well as a reason to motivate them to get out for their daily exercise. Office-based workers, who thought they never had the time to bring a new puppy into the home as they were out of the house for long periods, decided that lockdown was the perfect time to get a new dog.
According to research from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, a total of 3.2 million households in the UK have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic. Which means the country now has 17 million pet-owning homes.
As with all markets with a limited supply, when demand increases, the price usually follows. While there are numerous reputable breeders out there who properly breed and home their puppies with care, there has been evidence of groups exploiting this rise in demand. With a lucrative market in demand, individuals have turned to bad breeding methods and puppy farming to cash in.
Despite organisations spotlighting malpractices such as puppy farming, there are still large portions of the population who are completely unaware of the often-upsetting conditions breeding dogs are kept in. These unscrupulous people often put profit ahead of pet welfare.
If you are interested in buying a puppy, always ensure that you can:
- See both parents of the puppy prior to purchasing
- Ensure sellers are not regularly offering puppy litters and different breeds
- Ensure puppies aren’t leaving the mother before 8 weeks
- Check puppies are not in bad health
- Visit the puppies in their home environment before buying.
‘Dogfishing’ also became a new term, as people advertised puppies for sale without ever having them. This left potential owners out of pocket and with no dog.
Dog napping has also increased due to increased demand. The high price of puppies has created an opportunity for stealing high value breeds so that they can farm these animals for profit. A recent high-profile example includes Lady Gaga’s French Bulldogs who were kidnapped as they were being walked, due to the sale value of the puppies being around £10,000.
For many people, the idea of having a dog, or pet in general, sounds like a great idea. However, choosing the wrong breed at the wrong time can create numerous problems for both the pet and owner, with some abandoning their pet. Many are unaware of the demands of owning a puppy such as regular walking, breeds being too big for homes or families, along with general behavioural issues which can be managed but need work.
At any one time in the UK, there are around 100,000 dogs in the without a home. Dogs Trust received calls from over 1,800 people between October and December 2020, wanting to hand over dogs younger than one-year-old.
Furthermore, research by the Kennel Club states that one in five owners who bought a puppy during the pandemic had not considered the long-term responsibilities of looking after a pet. Some individuals reported that they found it was too much for them to cope with, as well as being unfair on the dog.
- how to select the right breed or type of dog to match the owners’ lifestyle
- how to acquire a puppy responsibly and safely
- how to prepare for the arrival of a puppy
- what to expect in the first year
Although each dog is different and has its own unique behaviours and characteristics, there are some basics that all dog owners can put in place to make sure their dog gets the best start in life.
Justine Williams from Our Family Dog commented on puppy ownership: “The reality of a puppy that wees, poos and cries constantly can take people by surprise. The aim of the course is to be prepare people for what’s involved in raising a puppy and help them decide if they are ready to commit to the responsibility.”
If you want to work with pets, now is the time to start setting yourself up as a pet professional, ensuring that you are trained to the correct level of industry recognised qualifications.
To find out more about our upcoming companion animal training suite, register your interest in our FREE webinar taking place Friday 28th May below.