People should think twice before getting pets during lockdown, animal charities warn

People should think twice before deciding to get a pet during the lockdown over coronavirus , animal charities have said.

The warning follows reports of a surge of interest while the public have been staying at home due to the pandemic.

A dog welfare charity have said they are concerned about a potential “a spike in people giving up their dog when normality resumes and reality sinks in”.

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“Like Christmas, when people are at home more, they might think now is the perfect time to get a dog,” Owen Sharp, the chief executive of Dogs Trust , said.

“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.”

Echoing Dogs Trust’s concerns, an RSPCA spokesperson told The Independent: “For some families this will be an ideal time to settle a pet into a new home when there is plenty of time to give them all the love and attention they need, but we would urge people to make sure you plan for the future when the family eventually returns to work and school to make sure you can continue to give them the care they need for life.

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They added: “This means anyone taking on an animal now needs to consider if they can still meet their needs after lockdown and the pandemic ends.

“They will need to think about their lifestyle when things are back to normal, and whether it is compatible with what a pet needs.”

The Dogs Trust said online searches for “buy a puppy” surged by 120 per cent in the month after lockdown was announced on 23 March. Searches for “adopt a puppy” increased by more than 130 per cent during the same time, according to the data from Propellernet.

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While people were urged to stay at home due to Covid-19, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home said they saw more than double the number of animals rehomed in one week in March compared with the same time period the year before. “These are difficult and uncertain times for all, but we know that there will always be people looking for a lifelong companion and we always encourage potential pet owners to think rescue first,” Robert Young, the head of operations at the animal shelter, said.

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“However, taking on a pet is a huge commitment and not a short-term arrangement. Battersea has a rigorous rehoming procedure to assess suitability and motivation and ensure we’re finding the best possible homes for our dogs and cats.

The RSPCA have said they have received an estimated 40 abandonment reports a day since lockdown started nearly two months ago.

The animal charity has advised people who can only take a pet on while they are staying at home to consider fostering instead.