Dog rescue charity Dogs Trust is asking the public to think carefully about getting a dog during lockdown, as online searches to ‘get a puppy’ rise by 120%.
As part of its new ‘A dog is for life, not just for lockdown’ campaign, the charity is asking people to weigh up whether they are truly ready for the realities of dog ownership before taking the leap.
The campaign is being backed by TV and radio personality, and dog lover, Graham Norton.
During the coronavirus lockdown more people appear to have been thinking about getting a dog for companionship, or because they’re around at home more to train them. 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 Propellernet.
Now the charity is concerned there may be a spike in new owners giving up their pets when normality resumes and reality sinks in. It says dog ownership can be rewarding but caring for a dog at home 24/7 is not the norm and that people should think twice before going ahead with a puppy purchase.
It has even created an online quiz for potential new dog owners to test whether they truly are ‘dog-ready’.
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 ‘A dog is for life, not just for lockdown’.
“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 everyone to consider when the lockdown lifts how your life will need to change to accommodate your four-legged friend.”
TV presenter and Dogs Trust supporter Graham Norton, owner of labradoodle Bailey, 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 even more time with him than usual.
“However, while the thought of introducing a cute, fluffy pooch to your family right now might be appealing, I fully support Dogs Trust’s important message. Don’t forget that you still have to walk a dog on a rainy evening, and pick up their poo in the dark!”
To take the Dogs Trust test, visit dogstrust.org.uk/dogready.