4 Reasons Why Buying a Dog Is a Terrible Idea – During Lockdown or Otherwise
As the COVID-19 pandemic forces us to spend more time indoors, many people are considering bringing an animal companion into their homes. Google searches for “buy a puppy” surged by 120% in the month after the UK lockdown was announced – but while adopting a dog is a wonderful thing to do, buying one isn’t. Here are five reasons why buying a dog is a terrible idea during lockdown or at any other time:
- When you buy puppies, dogs waiting at shelters lose their chance at finding a home.
Every year in the UK, around 130,000 dogs are surrendered to shelters and as many as 20,000 homeless dogs are euthanised. Every time someone buys a puppy from a breeder or pet shop, a dog in a shelter misses out on the opportunity to find a permanent home, fuelling the homeless-animal crisis. To prevent healthy dogs who would make perfect companions from being killed for lack of a good home, always adopt – never shop!
- Breeding dogs is inherently cruel.
Animals should never be treated as commodities and sold for profit. When you buy a puppy from a breeder or pet shop, you’re buying into cruelty. To make as much money as possible, many breeders force female dogs to churn out litter after litter of babies, with little regard for their welfare. Dogs at “puppy mills” aren’t well-loved family companions. Treated like breeding machines, they suffer in squalid conditions, often with untreated health problems, until they’re no longer able to produce puppies, at which point they’re abandoned, sold, or killed. Puppies from breeders commonly have myriad genetic defects and health issues, leading to extensive vet bills.
- Pedigree dogs have serious health problems.
As a result of inbreeding, pedigree dogs are plagued with chronic and often terminal ailments. The Kennel Club publishes “Breed Standards”, which has encouraged people to breed dogs for certain physical traits at the cost of their health. German shepherds’ sloping backs can cause paralysis in their back legs. Pugs’ “pushed-in” faces and bulging eyes can lead them to develop severe breathing and vision problems. Because Cavalier King Charles spaniels’ skulls are too small for their brains, they live in severe pain. The list of horrific illnesses endured by different breeds of dog is long.
- Adopting a dog is less costly.
Adopting a dog isn’t just the responsible, kind option – it can save you a ton of money, too. When you buy a puppy from a breeder, you can expect to pay between £500 and £1,500, depending on the breed. At a shelter, you’ll be asked to pay a rehoming fee, which is typically between £150 and £200 and helps cover the costs associated with spaying or neutering, vaccinating, and microchipping prior to adoption.
A Dog Is for Life, Not Just for Lockdown
While it might seem like our old lives are in the distant past, eventually, we’ll return to some semblance of normalcy. Many of us will head off to work in the morning and spend most of the day away from home, which means we won’t be able to dedicate as much time to our animal companions as we can while working from home. Bring a dog into your home only if you’re sure that you’ll be able to provide enough attention and exercise once you’re back in your usual routine.
Before you decide to adopt a dog, be certain that you’ll have the time, energy, patience, and money required to provide proper care for life. And make sure your entire household is on board, too. Getting a dog or any other companion animal is a huge responsibility, and the decision should never be made on impulse. Dogs deserve to be loved and cherished as members of the family and given the love and attention they need every day. If you’re prepared to make that lifelong commitment, contact a local rescue organisation.
Help End Animal Homelessness
Each year in Romania, tens of thousands of stray dogs, most of whom were struggling to survive on city streets, are systematically captured and killed. Please speak out against this bloodshed, which is legal under Romanian law.