Why you shouldn’t get a pet during lockdown
As the saying almost goes: A dog is for life, not just for coronavirus.
That’s the message coming from The Kennel Club, one of the UK’s biggest dog welfare organisations.
It’s warning people the lockdown is not a time for impulse buying animals without considering their future.
The organisation says searches for puppies on their website doubled between February and March as the restrictions were announced.
Charities including Battersea Dogs Home and the RSPCA have also told Radio 1 Newsbeat they don’t want people to rush into getting new pets right now.
There’s a worry animals will be abandoned once life goes back to normal and people no longer spend so much time at home.
“If you are considering getting a pet during these uncertain times, it’s important to remember taking on an animal is a huge commitment and it’s irresponsible to do so unless you’re really able to care for them in the long term,” says a spokesperson from Battersea Dogs Home.
The charity had previously stopped all rehoming, only allowing its animals to go to foster families during lockdown – they say 160 animals are currently being looked after this way.
But in the last couple of days Battersea has received new advice from the government and is now back to processing existing applications for adoption of animals at its centres.
But the message about thinking hard before getting a pet still remains the same.
The RSPCA has also told Newsbeat the government’s social distancing and self-isolation advice “would make it very difficult for someone to adopt or buy a pet at this time”.
According to the pet charity PDSA, it costs between £4,500 to £13,000 to look after a dog over its lifetime, and that’s without adding in any possible medical problems they might develop.
They also say it costs between £370-£425 to raise a puppy, taking into account vaccinations, food and toys.
But for some people, like 26-year-old Sarah, they’ve found ways to buy the pet they always wanted without breaking lockdown rules.
She’s been keeping in touch with her new Maltipoo puppy virtually.
“I’ve been FaceTiming the breeder once a week to see how my dog, Winnie, is getting on,” she tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.
“She’s been sending me lots of pictures and all the details I need like pictures of her parents and breeding certificates – it’s allowed me to think rationally about buying a pet.”
Sarah has always wanted a dog she could bring to the office with her, but has been unable to find the time due to work commitments and holidays.
“I knew now would be the perfect time to train a puppy at home – it means when life returns to normal, we will have a fully trained dog I can take to work and we can resume our lives with our new friend!”