With the drastic changes that lockdown has brought to us, it has been a hard time for all. Many in the UK have sought comfort by getting a new pet. However, could the surge in pet ownership lead to bad consequences? Dogs Trust predicts up to 40,000 dogs are at risk of abandonment due to COVID.

Tom, a Wandsworth resident and new dog owner, speaks to us about what led him to get a puppy and the effects this has had on his lifestyle. He describes COVID lockdown as a ‘good opportunity’, having ‘always wanted a pug’. With the majority of the UK population currently working at home, full attention can be given to training, walking and bonding with new pets.

With pets significantly increasing the happiness of new owners, providing a distraction in a monotonous cycle of work, what will become of them when the pandemic has passed? Tom plans to work from home once a week with care from friends and a local doggy day care. Not everyone has thought ahead to how they are going to cope when life returns to normal.

Dogs need company – they are pack animals and get very lonely and upset when left alone and not all new dog owners realise just how much time is needed to properly care for a dog. Having grown up with dogs, Tom is well aware of this commitment, and estimates he spends around ten hours a week walking, feeding, training and paying attention to his new puppy.

Another factor to consider is cost. PDSA, a charity helping pets in need, says you should expect your dog to cost you £4,500 to £13,000 over its lifetime. Whilst some owners are fully prepared for the long term commitment and expense of dogs, others are not.

Hasty decisions may lead to dire consequences. The last thing we need this year is more harm.