Cute dog is enjoying day out in the forest

The Truth about the impact of Coronavirus on our Dogs by Amy Green

The massive impact of the pandemic on our furry friends is becoming clear now that we have passed one year of repeated lockdowns due to coronavirus. Increased puppy prices, dog thefts on the rise and badly behaved pooches with a newly found separation anxiety are the result. But how badly are dogs and their owners really affected by the situation resulting from Covid-19?

Increased Puppy Prices

Due to people being locked down in their own homes for weeks or even months on end, dogs have become in more demand. A furry friend to cuddle keeps you sane (or more sane than without!) and the exercise from daily dog walks helps your physical fitness. At one point, it was almost like a dog was your ‘Golden ticket’ to go outside!

This increase in demand has pushed puppy prices higher than they have ever been before. Some breeds such as the Cocker Spaniel and Jack Russell Terrier have at least doubled.

What is even more shocking is the 10 X increase on the price of Patterdale terrier puppies. They used to sell for around £300 and now they are going for £2000-£3000. They are not even a registered Kennell Club breed!

More Puppy Farms

This demand has also seen an increase in puppy farms which prioritise money over the health and welfare of the dogs. The result is mothers who are overbred and puppies with health conditions in unpleasant environments.

Dogs Thefts are on the Rise

Would you choose to protect your dog over any valuables or even your own personal safety? The thing that makes this an interesting question is that dogs are so important to the humans they usually live with. They are often treated as a member of the family, meaning that dog owners will do anything possible to protect them. It’s a great feeling to have, but it also means that you need to be ready for anything when it comes to protecting your pet.

Since Coronavirus restrictions were enforced dog knappings have risen. They are being stolen from houses, back yards and even directly from owners when they are out on walks. The BBC reports that 2020 has been seen to be the worst year for dog thefts yet. Statistics showed that dog knapping figures more than doubled in most UK counties last year.

You can minimise the chances of your dog getting stolen by:

  • Keeping your dogs indoors at night
  • Installing cameras to watch your dogs while you are out
  • Downplaying your dog as ‘neutered’, ‘agressive’, ‘old’ or a crossbreed if you are asked questions about your dog when you are out and about.

Dog Behaviour Problems and Separation Anxiety

Dogs are now quite happily used to having their owners at home 24-7 and this means that they are getting rather attached. This attachment can be unhealthy and result in separation anxiety where your dog almost has a panic attack if you leave the house. Many dogs will need to have their time away from their owners built up slowly to get them used to being left alone again.

Increased Dog Aggression with Strangers

Dogs are also not used to welcoming visitors into their home. This prolonged period without strangers visiting may result in aggresision when lockdown is released. You may find that your dog is barking or displaying aggression to people he/she did not show this behaviour to before. It’s simply that they are out of practice and seeing intruders as a threat. You can desensitise your dog by ringing the doorbell and associating this with something positive such as a treat. You can also arm visitors with treats to help your dog to bond with them and accept them.

Dogs being Returned Post Lockdown

A big concern is that now lockdown is released and people return to their normal schedules of working and socialising, they will no longer have the time to spend with their dog. This could result in dogs adopted or bought at the start of lockdown ending up in the shelters and pounds.

If you do adopt a dog, remember that it is a lifelong committment and you need to be able to provide the love, time and training that he or she needs. If you do this you will be rewarded with all the unconditional love in the world.

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