Dogs are for life, not just coronavirus lockdown, says charity

A dog is for life and not just for the Covid-19 lockdown, a charity has warned after online searches about getting a puppy surged by 120%.

The Dogs Trust says it is concerned that the increased interest in acquiring a dog may be followed by a rise in people giving up their new pets when some form of normality resumes. The animal welfare charity, formerly known as the National Canine Defence League, is temporarily changing its famous slogan, “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas” to “a dog is for life, not just for lockdown”. The organisation’s chief executive, Owen Sharp, said: “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.”

While Google searches for “buy a puppy” rose by 120% in the month after lockdown was announced, searches for “adopt a puppy” saw an even bigger rise of 133% in online searches, according to data from Propellernet, a digital marketing agency.

Always keep an ID tag on your pet. Consider getting your pet microchipped as well to help identify him if he is lost or stolen.

The temporary closure of the trust’s rehoming centres has meant it has been trialling a new “handover at home” service, using virtual matching. Instead of asking potential owners to come to a centre to pick up their dog, the animal will be brought to them.

The charity’s warning came amid a surge in popularity during the first three months of this year of the Scottish terrier, popularly known as the Scottie dog. Statistics released by the Kennel Club showed a boost for the Scottish terrier, with puppy registrations increasing by 92% in the first few months of 2020 compared with the same period last year, making it the “top riser” so far in the new decade.
Til Tovey, the 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.”