‘A dog is for life, not just for lockdown.’
That’s the phrase people are beginning to use on social media this week after thousands of excited new dog owners began flooding our timelines with their cute canine snaps amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Yes, it seems that every man and his dog is suddenly getting a new puppy at the moment, although in light of what’s going on… can you really blame them?
It’s been reported in New York City that dog shelters are actually running out of dogs to rehome due to the surge in doggy fever, and since the start of last week, London’s Battersea Dogs and Cats home have permanently rehomed 86 pups.
To better put the pandemic’s effect into perspective, Battersea rehomed just 39 dogs in the first week of March.
New government recommendations for self-isolation are the obvious cause behind the sudden spike in dog adoptions, as distressed families and lonely people look for companionship while stuck at home.
It’s hardly surprising people have turned to new pets at this time, as it’s no secret that the love of a puppy can send your endorphins through the roof and help you forget about your troubles.
Even celebrities have been getting in on the action, with pop stars like Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez adopting canines in the last few weeks.
But while you might think this is wonderful news in a time of not so wonderful stories, animal charities are still becoming unusually worried.
There’s fears people aren’t looking beyond self-isolation with regards to adopting a new pet, and that when things return to normal, many families won’t have the time or inclination to continue providing the best care for their little tyke.
If this is the case, then consequently, many of these dogs will go back to the shelters they originally came from.
So if the coronavirus has got you tempted to join Rover’s revolution, make sure you’re ready for the commitment!
Before making any hard and fast decisions, ask yourself these questions below to see if you are truly ready to accept a dog into your life.
Why Do You Want A Dog?
If getting a dog is something you or your family have been discussing for months or even years before the crisis, it’s understandable why you might feel now is the time to bite the bullet and welcome a new member to the family.
But it’s important first to figure out why you’ve been ‘talking’ about it for years, yet still haven’t done it. Should a global pandemic really be the deciding factor in what makes you finally get a dog?!
Think about what your hesitations and doubts were before the virus. They may have been to do with money, your schedule, having very young children or a multitude of other reasons.
Then ask yourself if these hesitations will return once self-isolation is over? Because if you’ve gone ahead and actually bought a dog, they’ll quickly become bona fide issues.
It also goes without saying that if you’ve never even considered getting a dog until now, suddenly adopting one probably isn’t a good idea.
For some people though, this is absolutely the right time to bring a pup into their lives, and you may have known for some time that you want to become a dog owner.
If you’re confident you can care for a canine for the foreseeable future, there’s no better partner to see you through self-isolation and way, way beyond.
Can You Afford A Dog?
We hate to break it to you, but dogs are mighty expensive.
A dog, it’s food and all the equipment they need for a happy, healthy lifestyle can have an initial cost of around £700 – £2000, depending on what type of breed you get.
From there, it will cost you somewhere between £70 and £100 a month to give them the basic minimum care they need.
At a time when people’s job security and financial stability are at risk, these numbers don’t make for great reading.
If you’re someone who has cause to be worried or anxious about how the coronavirus will affect your income during this recession, a dog might make you feel better, but one more mouth to feed will also almost certainly create added stress.
Make sure you’re clued up on the cost of a canine before purchase, and whether your family can comfortably afford to give them the best life possible.
For a more in-depth look into how much dogs can cost, read our study here.
Do You Have Time For A Dog?
The factor that most people need to consider here is time.
Right now in isolation, you may well have more time on your hands than you know what to do with.
It’s only week one and boredom is already creeping in, and the promise of another three months of it is sending you into despair.
A dog would undoubtedly solve this issue.
They need lots of care, want all of your time and attention and their requirement for walks is a great way to get you out of the house and shake off some cabin fever.
More importantly though, they’re going to provide you with love and affection during a miserable period, and so it really seems like a no brainer.
However, all of this reasoning is being made with a very short-term outlook.
The coronavirus won’t be around in just a few months, your new dog however almost certainly will.
When you go back to work, when your kid’s go back to school – will you have time to walk your dog? Will you have time to feed them?
Are you going to be leaving them in the house alone while you undoubtedly go and soak up all that social life you’ve missed?
These are questions you should be asking yourself and so it’s important to note what your usual non-isolation routine is.
As a rule of thumb, 10 hours alone is too long for a dog, and so those with long working hours or travel times may struggle. Your dog also needs at least 2 walks a day, totalling around 30 minutes of walking time.
This becomes a work/life/dog balance. Owning a dog means sharing your life with them, and in that sense they are more a family member than a pet.
Don’t bring one into your life if you’re not prepared to spend all of your spare seconds with them!