The effect of Covid-19 on Animals
The Covid-19 Pandemic has seriously affected many aspects of our lives, and the impact on pets and animal welfare has been profound. Here are some of the main ways that changes have been seen.
Increased demand for pets
It has been said that the pet population surged by 20%, with a particular focus on dogs. People who had been unable to have a dog because they worked outside the home were suddenly working from home, and they felt that this was the opportunity they had been waiting for. Thousands of people took on a pet dog for the first time.
Increased price of puppies
The surge in demand for puppies led to dramatic inflationary pressures on puppy prices, with a typical pedigree pup being sold for €1500 or more, up from the pre-pandemic prices of around €500. Even cross-bred pups were selling for up to €1000. Prices have now begun to fall again, as the demand has stabilised.
More behavioural issues in young dogs
Many new dog owners were new to the concept of owning a dog, and they were not aware of some important aspects of dog training. Puppy training classes could not take place as before, so many pups were not properly socialised or trained in the normal way. Many of these dogs have now grown into young adults who are poorly socialised and not well trained, and this is causing some issues on the streets and in the parks of Ireland, when dogs meet each other. Plenty of work needs to be done with these dogs to help them to become more relaxed and confident when meeting other dogs and people.
Separation anxiety has surged in dogs
Lockdown dogs spent almost all of their time with their families, as people were not leaving home to go to work. As a result, these animals began to expect their owners to be around all the time, and they did not get used to spending time on their own. This is causing issues now that people are going back to work. Again, extra training and consultation with behavioural specialists will be needed in the coming months.
Social distancing at vet clinics
As in other areas of life, vets had to enforce social distancing to limit the spread of the COVID virus. Owners had to stay in car parks, while animals were brought into the clinic on their own. Euthanasias were especially challenging, with some restrictions placed on who was allowed to stay with their pets at the end. Thankfully, this phase is coming to an end, and pet owners are gradually being allowed back into vet clinics, with suitable masks and other precautions in place.
Increased use of remote consultations by vets
To limit face to face consultations, many vets carried out so-called remote consultations, on the phone, by video link, or by email. As in other areas of life, this has led to some changes in ways of working which may or may not continue into the future. The Veterinary Council of Ireland is currently formulating an up to date policy on how this type of veterinary care should be regulated. The public are being asked for their comments on the new policy, so watch this space, and make your opinion known when the opportunity arises.
Reduced funding for animal rescue groups
With the restrictions on gatherings and public events, animal rescue groups have suffered a serious loss in income, because they have been unable to fundraise. This is causing serious problems with continued functioning of some groups: please be as generous as possible to the groups working in your own area.
There is no doubt that there must be other ways that pets have been affected by COVID-19. At Petfix Club, we are determined to help pets and pet owners in any way that we can. If there are any other significant impacts of COVID that you are aware of, please let us know. We all need to help each other so that we – people and animals – come through this crisis as strong and healthy as we can.