An animal charity has warned that taking on a pet is a long-term commitment after searches for “puppy” on its website rose by more than 1,000 per cent during the coronavirus lockdown.
Godmanchester-based Wood Green said people saw the lockdown as an opportunity to welcome a new pet into the home - but urged potential owners to consider the full implications of looking after a puppy or a kitten once the situation returned to normal.
It said the appeal of a young animal could lead to impulsive decisions to take one on without taking into account the amount of work involved in owning a puppy or a kitten which could live for more than 10 years.
The charity has seen a huge rise in people searching is site for puppies over the last month, as more people have been working from home or have been furloughed under the lockdown, look for a companion.
Linda Cantle, director of pet and owner support services at Wood Green, said: “It’s understandable that so many people are now looking into getting a new pet.
“It might seem like a good time to settle a puppy or new pet as people are spending more time at home, and both the pet and owner will benefit from the companionship.
“However, choosing and welcoming a new pet into your home can be a time-consuming and hands-on process, and new owners need to be prepared for what pet ownership entails.”
The charity urged would-be pet owners to take four things into account before taking on a pet: would the animal get on with everyone at the home including other pets, would there be enough time to care for a pet, have cost implications been taken into account and where would the pet come from - under new rules they must come either directly from the breeder or rehoming centre such as Wood Green.
The lockdown means that Wood Green is unable to offer pets for rehoming at present, and is appealing for funds after closing its charity shops, but can give advice to help find the right match.
Further information is available from woodgreen.org.uk/pet-advice, www.puppycontract.org.uk and www.thecatgroup.org.uk .