Are you thinking about getting a new pet? Whether you want to become the owner of a dog, cat or small mammal, there are many considerations to make before you jump into the world of pet ownership.
According to a new report by the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA), over three million UK households have bought a pet during the pandemic. While 74% claim their new pet has helped their mental health, this study raises worrying welfare concerns for our fluffy friends, with 17% of families with children saying that training their new pet was harder than expected, and 38% saying it was like having a new baby. In fact, 5% of new owners had already given up their new pet – a figure which sadly increased to 11% among families.
Searches for 'Guinea pigs for sale' and ‘hamsters for sale’ rose by 233% and 200% respectively from July 2020 compared to the previous year. Sadly, the RSPCA have had over 2,500 abandoned small mammals reported to their cruelty line since lockdown began in March 2020, often due to people buying small mammals on impulse thinking that their small size means they are easy to look after, which isn’t the case.
Although it can be tempting to adopt a fluffy friend while working from home, our pets get used to a certain routine, and any sudden change can cause anxiety and behavioural changes. Young pets especially may have only ever known their owner being around them constantly, meaning that they could find it very difficult to adjust post-lockdown when they have to spend significant amounts of time alone.
Pet ownership is a huge commitment with many ups and downs, but it will certainly filled with lots of love. You can take our 30 Day Challenge to see if you think you would be able to handle the commitments of a new pet.
If after putting yourself in the shoes of a pet owner for 30 days you still feel ready for this big responsibility, check out our responsible pet ownership page for advice of adoption, bringing up a pet and how to buy responsibly.