A dog is for life not just for lockdown……

As a vet nothing more brings a smile to my face than our clients calling us to let us know they have a new puppy in their lives! I don’t think any of us could have prepared what 2020 has thrown at us so far or the huge increase in puppies that we would see during this time. We have felt so lucky that we can still be here so far for our patients and that our governing bodies have allowed us to give these pups the best start to life ensuring they get their first vaccinations at the correct ages, usually 8 and 12 weeks.

This has meant that these pups can start to go and explore their new environments with some protection against the many diseases that are still out there for example parvo virus and leptospirosis. However we have been surprised with just how many puppies we have seen – again we have found this to be a huge highlight in our days during lockdown.

This got us thinking where are all these puppies coming from? It has obviously had an impact on the supply of pups as seen by this article this last week:

https://news.sky.com/video/uk-facing-puppy-shortage-as-demand-soars-12016354

The kennel club has already seen a huge increase in puppy registrations increasing by 167% from last year and up by 237% in May alone

From the 6th April 2020 government passed a new law (at the start of lockdown) called Lucy’s law. This means that anyone wanting to get a new puppy or kitten in England must now buy direct from a breeder or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead. Licensed dog breeders are required to show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth. The law has been passed to stop any third party puppy sales, trying to put an end to puppy farming.

With the pandemic unfortunately there has been a surge in demand for puppies and has led to unscrupulous breeding and a concern of more puppies being breed in poor environments, without the correct knowledge or care.

As vets we want to try to guide our owners to finding puppies responsibly and also ensure a dog is right for them.

Is a dog right for us?

Ask yourself these questions before making a commitment to a dog – a dog is for life not just for lockdown:

  • Do I have a suitable garden and space inside and out for a dog?
  • Can I spare 1-2 hours to exercise and train the dog a day?
  • Can I afford to look after a dog – ensuring vaccinations, flea/ worming and any medication can be covered. Also insuring the dog for unexpected vet bills? (The cost of owning a dog will be covered in a later blog article)What breed of dog will suit my lifestyle?
  • Will I be home enough during the day after lockdown has finished?
  • Do I know which breeds are suitable family dogs?
  • What is the reason I would like a dog at this stage of life?Are you ready to care for your dog for the next 10-15 years?

After considering the above questions you feel a dog is right for you, the next step to consider is which breed and where to find the dog. Often word of mouth is the best way to locate responsible breeders that friends and family may know. Other resources include the kennel club website and champ dogs.

As vets our advice for searching for your dream companion:
Consider rescue centres – get in contact with local resuce centres especially during this time when owners may have had to give up their beloved dogs due to loss of job or earnings.

Be careful an try to avoid online adverts – there is often a reason people are rehoming their dogs through social media, is that dog safe around children or people? Is there a genuine reason for rehoming?
There has been an increase in dogs illegally coming across from the continent for breeding purposes.

If you locate a dog and have a look at it over zoom, try to ensure you see the mother and father as you would do if there wasn’t a global pandemic.

If you arrive to collect the puppy/ dog but don’t feel the environment is right, remember you can walk away. As hard as it is leaving that animal in the environment, human nature often takes over to rescue the pup.

Below is a link to Lucy’s law for you to read more about the recent law that was passed.

If you have any questions about taking on a rescue dog, or getting a puppy please call your local Swayne’s branch and have a chat to our many vets and nurses.

Lucy’s Law link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/lucys-law-spells-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-puppy-farming