The Dog Ownership Boom of COVID-19

Pets have been proven to make us happier, healthier, less stressed and less lonely. During these unprecedented times, it’s no wonder why so many Australians have been adopting or buying new dogs and other pets. This increase of pet ownership due to COVID-19 comes from a few factors including loneliness, spending more time at home and being unable to travel.

Welcoming a new dog or puppy into your family requires a settling in period. Many people choose to take ‘paw-ternity’ leave to get their pup used to their new environment and bond with them. A new puppy can be almost as intensive as having a new baby, including toilet, obedience & crate training, puppy proofing your house, dealing with teething & other puppy tendencies. During COVID-19 restrictions people found themselves working from home, having extended time off work or with reduced hours. As a result, hundreds of Australians have decided this is the perfect time to get a dog or cat. Additionally, pets provide a sense of normality and comfort during uncertain pandemic times. Just getting outside to walk my dog each day at lunch makes me feel better & more active when working from home. It’s my perfect break throughout the day.

Pet Rescue says that their adoptions have “doubled in a one-month period” while RSCPA Victoria says they have received “1600 adoption applications in the last week alone, and, compared to the same time last season, noted a 45% increase in dog adoptions and a 20% increase in cat adoptions. Fostering inquiries have jumped, too.” In addition to this, the number of people buying from breeders has skyrocketed during this time. Scamwatch has reported that “compared to the previous year, we recorded a fivefold increase in April for dishonest schemes to extort money out of consumers for dogs that did not exist.” Please ensure you look for a dog either through a reputable rescue charity or an authorized breeder.

Of course, pets are for life and should never be an impulse buy. You need to do your research to find a dog that suits your lifestyle, including finances, activity level and living situation. You may have time now during COVID restrictions, but will you have time to take care of a new pet if you have to return to work?’ If not, perhaps try fostering or pet sitting instead. When we inevitably do have to go back into the office, you have to prepare your new furry family member for this massive change. You can read about this in more detail at this Blue Wheeler blog.

Sydney Morning Herald

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