Since Covid-19 struck here in the UK in early 2020, we have been living in what feels like a whole new world. Terms like ‘pandemic’, ‘social distancing’, ‘self-isolating’ and ‘lockdown’ have become everyday terms, and many peoples’ lives have been turned upside down.
Sadly, this year will always be remembered for its human doom and gloom, global misery, and our own feelings of uncertainty, and in the animal welfare world we’ve also witnessed severe disruptions too. But with your help, and the help of many other animal-lovers across the UK, we may actually see a positive outcome for one very important pet-related issue which, I think you’ll agree, would make a lovely change?
Many of us have tried something new since lockdown started in late March. Social media has been flooded with images of sourdough starters, oil paintings and fitness videos. Unsurprisingly, many people have decided that this is the perfect time for a new friend in the house. Recent reports have shown that there has been a huge increase in people buying new puppies... While no one would dispute that the world needs some puppy love right now, many charities are worrying that the puppy farming industry has grown much larger during 2020, as a result of this increased demand.
Under current government guidelines, rehoming of pets now doesn’t count as essential travel, affecting breeders and rehoming centres across the country.
The week before lockdown, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home experienced a surge in adoptions when it homed 86 dogs and 69 cats compared to 42 dogs and 39 cats the week prior and 39 dogs and 52 cats the same week the year prior. The Dogs Trust also reported a 25% increase in adoptions.
So you’ve got your first puppy? Congratulations! This is both a terribly exciting and scary time. It’s a little like having a child - you’re initially worried that every little bump or scratch will cause lasting damage, and every little mistake in training could produce a horror-dog.
As you get to know your new family member, you’ll learn and grow along with them. But what of the first few days after bringing home your puppy? What should you be doing to give them the best start in life? What about puppy vet visits? And how can you handle the first cat-puppy encounter?
Dear VetHelpDirect, I was planning on buying a new puppy, but since the recent media focus on Puppy Farms, I am concerned. How do I know that my puppy is coming from a responsible home, without it being too expensive? Can I trust the vets’ word for this?This enquiry follows the recent BBC documentary “Inside the UK Puppy Farm Capital”, which suggests that you are right to be concerned. The puppy-farming industry in the UK has been booming over recent years and the recent BBC exposé makes for harrowing viewing.