A Dog Is for Life Not Just For Lockdown, says Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust worries about impending puppy crisis as online searches for ‘to get a puppy’ rise by 120% during Covid-19 lockdown.

The dog charity is asking the public to weigh up if they are truly ready for the realities of dog ownership before taking the leap, as searches to get a dog have shot up in the past month, while the country has been advised to stay at home.

Whether people are getting a dog for companionship or because they’re around more to train them, the charity is concerned there may be a spike in people giving up their dog when normality resumes and reality sinks in.

This is the sad reality that often follows Christmas when people get dogs on a whim.

Dog ownership can be hard but caring for a dog when you are at home 24/7 is not the norm, so the charity is temporarily tweaking its famous slogan to ‘A Dog is for Life Not Just For Lockdown’ to get everyone to think twice before going ahead with a puppy purchase.

Millions of us are working from home and Google searches for ‘buy a puppy’ increased by 120% in the month after lockdown was announced on 23 March. ‘Adopt a puppy’ saw an even bigger rise of 133% in online searches, according to data from Propeller net.

Dogs Trust has created an online quiz for potential new dog owners to test themselves whether they truly are ‘dog ready’.

In the long-term, are you ready?

  • To completely change your schedule (& give up lie ins)
  • For more time spent at home or the expense of a dog sitter/walker
  • For walks in all weather
  • To devote time to training, games and fun with your furry friend
  • To spend £££s on food every month, as well as treats, insurance and other doggy essentials
  • For furniture covered in fur
  • To think for two – a night our, a holiday or a weekend away all mean planning for your pooch too
  • To be chief pooper scooper
  • To learn the language of your dog so you can give them everything they need

Dogs Trust’s 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 that ‘D Dog is for Life Not Just for Lockdown’. Like Christmas, when people are at home more, they might think that now is the perfect time to get a dog. For some people this will be the case, but we are 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 a chief pooper scooper? Are you ready to forgo a lie in every again? As well as more serious questions around vet treatment and preparing for emergencies. If there is still a dog-shaped space in your life, then it may be the right time for you.”

Graham Norton, owners of Labradoodle Baily, TV Presenter and Dogs Trust supporter, said: “As a dog owner myself, I know how much joy four-legged friends bring to our lives. I’ve certainly found that my gorgeous dog, Bailey has taken the boredom out of lockdown for me, and I’ve really enjoyed spending time even more with them than usual.

“However, whilst the thought of introducing a cute, fluffy pooch to your family right now might be appealing, I fully support Dogs Trust’s important message that ‘A Dog Is For Life Not Just For Lockdown’. 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. Taking a look at Dogs Trust’s ‘are you ready’ test is a great place to start if you’re thinking about getting a dog.”

Dogs Trust are now calling on people to take the test to see how ‘dog-ready’ they truly are. If you think you are ready for a dog, although the Dogs Trust centres are closed to public, they are rehoming on a limited basis. Visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/dogready for more information.