Since 2020, dog ownership has drastically increased. Much like many other trends which have emerged since the covid-19 pandemic, like more people than ever looking to sell their properties and more to less urban and more rural areas, numbers of people looking to own a pet has drastically increased too (source: ProperEaze). The number of households with a dog in the UK shot up with the start of the pandemic.
As more people spent time at home, dogs became a more manageable and desirable addition to the family, especially among younger generations. There are now more than 12.5 million dogs in the UK.
- Why Has Dog Ownership Increased?
- Why Are People Buying Instead Of Rescuing?
- What Are The Consequences Of More People Buying Dogs?
- Ethical Dog Buying Practices
There are several reasons which may explain why dog ownership and spending money on dogs in recent times has vastly increased.
Dog ownership has peaked as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. During the worst of the pandemic, with most people home in lockdown, interest in getting a dog spiked. The lockdown environment allowed more people to be able to welcome a dog into their lives. In isolation, people craved the companionship of a dog and working from home also made it a more practical decision. Overall, lockdown dogs provided their owners with a source of happiness and entertainment during a difficult time. As COVID improved, the spike began to level out. However, the results of the pet boom are still visible. There are now more than 12 million dogs in the UK.
Mental Health Benefits
Owning and looking after a dog has long been a way in which to help people effectively manage their mental health, with the emotional benefits alone being a reason people look to buy dogs in the first place. Much like improving one’s sleep, for example by investing in a Hungarian goose down duvet, or a better mattress, investing in your mental health is crucial to a person’s overall wellbeing.
Having a dog is a great way in which to get outside, to take the pet for a walk and the emotional and therapeutic support a dog can offer are unparalleled.
Despite rescue centres being full of dogs looking for their forever homes, many people are still buying dogs from breeders rather than adopting. Although people may initially consider adopting when looking for a dog, many are dissuaded by negative stereotypes of rescue dogs.
They wrongly believe that all dogs from shelters will be aggressive and bark excessively. However, rescuing certainly takes more time, particularly if you are looking for a dog of a specific breed or age. One of the most common reasons people buy instead of adopting is because they want a puppy rather than an older dog.
The RSPCA has warned that the increase in people buying dogs could quickly become a crisis. 1 in 4 people admit to impulse buying a puppy during the pandemic. Unfortunately, some find their new pet is more challenging to look after than anticipated.
Dogs take time to adjust to new routines, especially if they have to get used to spending more time alone. This can lead to worse behaviour temporarily as they deal with separation anxiety. Many owners cannot deal with challenging behaviour and consider giving up their dogs.
Dogs Trust says it has experienced a 35% increase in calls from people about giving up their pet since lockdown lifted. Rescue centres encourage you to do your best to be patient with your dog and give them time to adjust and settle in. With time, they are sure to get used to being alone more, and their behaviour will improve.
It is fantastic that more people than ever are buying dogs and benefiting from a happy life with their loving companions. However, this boom has also seen unfortunate consequences, such as skyrocketing prices for puppies and increasing dog thefts.
This has, in turn, incited an explosion in unethical breeding practices and people even turning to payday loans to pay for the purchase of a pet, which is not a recommended financial practice. Campaigners are calling for new measures to be introduced to combat puppy farming. They want to see sellers required to provide photo ID and proof of address where puppies can be seen with their mothers and vet certificates with vaccination details. If you are buying a puppy, follow the RSPCA’s guidance on finding a good breeder.
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