The COVID-19 pandemic has led to uncertainty and severe health and economic concerns.
Previous studies indicated that owning a companion animal, such as a dog or a cat, has had benefits for good mental health.
However, RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines, has concerns for the outcome of pets that were adopted during lockdown.
Dr Samantha Gaines said: “There was a huge surge in demand for dogs during lockdown. What concerns us is what’s happening to these ‘lockdown puppies’ now and what will happen to them over the coming months.
“We’re worried that while many families will have considered the long-term commitment of taking on a dog, some may not have been thinking post-lockdown and how they will care for their new pet when they return to work.”
Between March 23 and December 31, the RSPCA’s Find a Pet section of the website had 40 million views compared to 23 million the previous year.
The RSPCA fostering page had 470 thousand visits in comparison to 130 thousand during 2019 which is a staggering 244 percent increase.
The number of views to RSPCA’s pages about rehoming a dog surged 87 percent from 540 thousands to 1 million over the same period.
Eighteen-month-old cockapoo, Nelson, was purchased at the beginning of lockdown and was a much-loved addition to his family.
He was handed over to the RSPCA when their circumstances changed and they could no longer care for him.
A spokesperson from RSPCA Sussex, Chichester & District Branch said: “Poor Nelson is nervous of strangers and this is something we’re concerned may become prevalent in lockdown puppies, who weren’t able to socialise properly due to Government restrictions.”
“Our advice to anyone thinking of getting a dog is to do lots of research. Take time to consider whether you can commit to a dog and the responsibility and costs associated with owning one. If you can, then please consider adopting a rescue dog instead of buying a puppy.”