Puppy Boom- Dogs Welfare in Ireland during Covid-19
During the Covid-19 Lockdown a number of issues have arisen which are a cause for alarm and concern for the welfare of dogs in Ireland:
Existing family dogs have become accustomed to having us at home
There has been a 42% increase in people acquiring a new dog
Theft of dogs from people's homes and gardens is on the rise
The price of "pedigree puppies" has sky rocketed
The veterinary clinic has become 'an even scarier place!'
Opportunities for normal dog socialisation and training have been put on hold
I have spoken to a number of friends, family and colleagues who have told me they have had great difficulty sourcing the type of dog they want. Those who would normally be working full time, away from home, are rejected by many of the rescue organisations and are either trying to source dogs online or resorting to charities importing dogs from elsewhere.
Dog breeders can pretty much 'name their price' because puppies are in such great demand. Even breeds which I would normally consider to be popular and abundant, are fetching prices over 2000 Euros. What is going to happen when life, hopefully, goes back to normal. Will these puppies learn to cope with being home alone for extended periods of time. Will there be a sudden rise in both supply and demand for dog walkers, doggy daycare or day boarding? Generally, by the time a client makes contact with me, they have already asked the vet, the pet shop, watched a multitude of You Tube videos on dog training and behaviour and have maybe enlisted a 'real' dog trainer locally, who may or may not have put a choke chain and/or electric shock collar on their dog- and they wonder why it is getting worse rather than better?! People close to me, both geographically and personally are genuinely terrified that their dog or dogs are going to be stolen. Puppies might be sold on and entire adult dogs might be used to supply the illegal puppy market- scary stuff! Those of you who know me professionally, know that I am a great advocate for low stress handling, in every area of veterinary practice. Car park medicine (collecting pets from their owners car and conducting our clinical examinations and treatment in the absence of the pet owner), use of protective clothing and the continuous use of face masks, as well as frayed nerves in veterinary clinic staff, as a result of all of the above, has done very little to progress our move towards lowering anxiety levels for veterinary patients and their owners. The upshot is that hopefully, things are about to start to improve and we can start undoing some of the behavioural and welfare damage caused by the past 15 months and start safe guarding the welfare of Irelands' dogs again. If you have any thoughts or questions about any of the above, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our discussion forum Forum | Mysite (greatexpectationsvet.com) Thanks, Claire