In this three-minute read, we look at fears the UK is heading for an animal welfare crisis this winter.
Demand for puppies skyrocketed during lockdown, but with furlough ending later this month and the economy struggling, is the reality of pet ownership about to bite?
Earlier this year, demand for puppies skyrocketed, with Google searches for “Puppies near me” increasing more than six times (by 650%) between January and July.
As a result, the price of popular breeds such Dachshunds, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs and Chow Chows shot up.
The asking price for a Dachshund, for example, increased from £973 in March to £1,838 in June (figures from The Dogs Trust).
But what happens when the novelty of owning a puppy wears off?
They fear a surge in the number of dogs dumped or abandoned as people struggle to pay for pet food and vet bills or exercise their pooch every day.
The Kennel Club’s Head of Health and Welfare Bill Lambert says: “𝘞𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘱𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘮𝘢𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘶𝘭𝘴𝘦, 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘥𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬 𝘰𝘯 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘢 𝘥𝘰𝘨 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘺, 𝘰𝘳 𝘧𝘶𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢 𝘱𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘧𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦, 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘵-𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘮 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘰𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘺.
𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘺 𝘥𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘺 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘴𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘺 𝘧𝘢𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘥𝘶𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘤 – 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘴𝘢𝘥𝘭𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘶𝘭𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘳𝘦𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘧 𝘰𝘸𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘯’𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘶𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘥𝘰𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 ‘𝘯𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘭’ 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦.”
Due to this growing concern, the RSPCA has renamed October “Adoptober” (see what they did there?). The campaign urges people who are determined to get a dog to adopt, instead of buy.
By adopting a rescue dog, you will be giving an animal in need a loving home. You will also be able to rest easy in the knowledge that you haven’t fuelled the activities of overseas puppy farmers, who illegally smuggle dogs into the UK and sell them on the internet.
These dogs often have serious health and emotional problems as they are often kept in unhygienic conditions, are in poor health and are removed from their mothers too soon.
Dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines says: “𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦: 𝘥𝘰 𝘭𝘰𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘤𝘩 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘱𝘦𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘧𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘶𝘭𝘴𝘦 𝘣𝘶𝘺.”
And if adoption isn’t for you, there are, of course, other ways you can do your bit for the canine community. Many animal charities are looking for people to foster dogs, providing pooches with a temporary residence until they find their “forever home”.
Or you could consider volunteering your services as a dog walker to various charities around the country. Check out the work of the Cinnamon Trust (https://cinnamon.org.uk/home/) and The Underdog (https://www.theunderdog.org/)
We’d love to see your dog, whether it’s a rescue, fostered, owned, or adopted, so feel free to share photos of your four-legged companion with us here at Castledene.