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Puppies are in high demand and short supply amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. Registered breeders, shelters, and fosterers report a massive surge of 400% in requests for cuddly four-legged companions during these stressful times.

While it's terrific news that pups searching for their forever homes are being adopted, it is worrying that the number of stray dogs has sky-rocketed since lockdown began. Also, so has the number of backyard breeders and puppy fraudsters.

While now could be an excellent time to adopt a pet – as many people work from home and have more time to spend with their fur babies - owners should do their research before adopting a puppy.

"Dogs are a lifetime commitment. That means a minimum of ten to fifteen years (sometimes more – if we are lucky) of care every day. Spend plenty of time researching different breeds, keeping in mind that all puppies eventually grow up,” said David Barritt of Network for Animals (NFA).

“Most importantly, consider adopting a pup from a rescue group or shelter. That way, you are giving a dog a second chance, something that all pets deserve. There are many beautiful dogs at shelters. There are also many older dogs or special needs dogs more than deserving of loving homes.”

Rescue groups and shelters can help you find the right kind of puppy for your family's lifestyle, matching dog personality, background, and needs with your environment and lifestyle.

If you insist on adopting a dog from a breeder, always go through a reputable breeder and never buy online or from backyard breeders. Some sellers on the Internet are unscrupulous breeders who make animals available where animal welfare is not their primary concern, and this is occurring more so now because of the coronavirus.

Another danger is that high prices have further encouraged the illegal importation of puppies or heavily pregnant dogs from smuggling hotspots worldwide. Even at the height of lockdown, it's business as usual for puppy smugglers, especially when it comes to ‘designer dogs’ and young pups of specific breeds. Sadly, many of these animals carry life-threatening diseases, such as distemper and parvovirus, resulting in both heartbreak and costly veterinarian bills for the owner.

When adopting any pet, do so for the right reasons. Getting a puppy because you need something to keep the kids entertained because it's a difficult time of year or because there's just so much cuteness going around aren't good enough reasons. At some point, people will go back into the office, and life will normalize. What then?

"While puppies bring joy into our lives, always ensure you're ready, willing, and can responsibly care for your new family member. That includes being able to afford your dog’s needs beyond the absolute basics of food (such as grooming, spaying or neutering, microchipping, etc), having the patience to potty train your pup and exercise them daily, as well as giving them lots of attention and love. If you do it right and go into it with your eyes wide open, bringing a puppy into your life is going to be one of the best things you ever do," concluded Barritt.


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