“Pandemic puppies” have become a huge phenomenon due to people wanting safe companionship during a time of social isolation. As pets are known to help ease feelings of anxiety, loneliness and depression, these furry companions are helping many replace the normal social interactions with friends and family.
“Animal shelters across the country are reporting an increase in the number of pets being adopted, as people work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Becker.edu.
As owners are now home more than usual, new pets can quickly bond with their owners and learn new tricks with extra time and patience. Training your dog to perform appropriate behaviors, such as housebreaking, also becomes a more easygoing process as owners have a wider availability to train their new pet and take their dog out for potty breaks more regularly.
With unconditional love and companionship, puppies have a beneficial effect on our overall wellbeing and mental health. According to the American Kennel Club, dogs can reduce loneliness and stress, cope with crises, and encourage physical activity. Dogs are also known to help with social interaction and generally make us happier.
Ty’Daja Rodriguez, a third-year social work student at Florida A&M University, got her first puppy on June 8 and recommends others to get a puppy during this time.
“I’ve been wanting a dog since freshman year because I stay far away from home and felt like I needed a companion,” said Rodriquez, a Mississippi native. “She is the light of my day.”
Although a puppy sounds like absolute perfection, the pandemic hinders problems for new puppy owners.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, veterinarians and groomers, like Capital Veterinary Specialists in Tallahassee, are only offering curbside services. Pet owners are not allowed into the facilities, which may cause complications with puppies that suffer from separation anxiety from their owners. This also sparks a lack of trust between the animal professional and the owner because they are not present during the veterinarian appointment or grooming session to observe the wellbeing of their pet.
The pandemic also poses challenges to the puppy socialization period, which is when your young puppy should be exploring and learning the world around them to avoid antisocial behavioral problems in the future.
“The puppy socialization period has not changed even though our world has,” said Rachel Lees, a veterinary behavior technician, on fearfreepets.com. “From 6-16 weeks, we still need to be introducing puppies to the human world while keeping ourselves safe from disease outbreak.”
Even though a “pandemic puppy” does not sound like a bad idea to most, a puppy is a real responsibility and is not a simple decision that can be made on impulse. According to The I Paper, research by the Kennel Club, an organization that focuses on the health, welfare, and training of dogs, shows that the large increase in “pandemic puppy” sales may lead to an overwhelming amount of abandoned puppies.
As the pandemic has altered our daily routines and freed up more time that we do not normally have, the welfare of puppies bought during this time may be in danger as new puppy owners may not think of the long-term commitment of a furry companion who is dependent on their care.
Pets need help from a patent owner with changes in their daily routines, which may not be possible with the abrupt changes that the end of the pandemic may bring. According to Julie Hecht, an animal behavior doctoral candidate at the City University of New York who recently interviewed with Slate, “pandemic aside, changes to daily routines can affect dogs negatively.”
As puppies do not understand the world us humans live in, it is important to properly access your life and usual capabilities before taking on this responsibility. On the bright side, a furry companion during this time can leave a positive impact on our socially restricted days throughout this pandemic and beyond.