In March 2020, the world suddenly changed. Confined to our homes, many families saw this as the perfect time to welcome a new addition to the household: a furry friend.

My family, much like many across the nation, realised that with everyone at home, there would be no better time to get a dog than now. This led to a surge in the demand for dogs, it is estimated that since the start of the pandemic, over 3.2 million pets have been bought.

I spoke to owner Beth King, who got her dog during lockdown. “It really helped to prevent some of the loneliness which came with being isolated and gave us a reason to go outside every day,” she answered, when asked what the most positive part of owning a dog during the pandemic was. In fact, countless studies have proved that having a dog can boost mental health and wellbeing; this is especially important in times of such uncertainty.

However, along with the positives, having a lockdown puppy also has its challenges. “My dog never really got to socialise as a puppy, so he is sometimes immature and unsociable around other dogs,” stated Beth. With life readjusting to a new post-lockdown normality, some dog owners have been placed in a difficult situation. A new routine for families with people returning to work and school (therefore being out of the house for longer periods of time), has meant a new routine for pets too. Dogs who have been socialised into an environment where their owners are constantly around them may struggle to adapt to these changes, resulting in behaviour issues and other related problems. This, in turn, may lead to an increase in dogs being returned to rescue centres, or in the worst cases, abandoned. A recent RSPCA study concluded that separation anxiety may affect an estimated 85% of dogs, especially prevalent in pandemic puppies.

For my household along with many others, getting a puppy in lockdown was truly the best decision. It allowed us to spend more time as a family and more time outdoors. Whilst getting a puppy during lockdown is the perfect choice for some, it’s not for everyone. Before potentially welcoming a furry friend into your home, it’s important to consider the impact that many unpredictable changes will inevitably have on your dog and their wellbeing, and whether it is fair on them.