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Issue #2 – Pets in a pandemic: How coronavirus caused a surge in canine sales .  September 2021

Sidney Says @1st September 2021

When it comes to making new friends, Sidney can’t introduce himself fast enough. He loves to meet doggies and their owners, and he often wonders where everybody goes when they’re finished in the park (maybe behind the tv).

Not every pup has a loving family like Sidney though. Some were bought during the pandemic, and haven’t had the best start in life.

We’ve all heard the expression ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ but after the unexpected spread of the Covid-19 virus, have we now earned the right to change this to ‘a dog is for life, not just for a pandemic’? The pooch population in the UK rose dramatically after the country saw the introduction of several lockdowns starting from March 2020, but how did this come to be? 

A whopping 3.2 million households in the UK have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic. The rise in demand saw sales costs soar to almost double what they’d usually be- with puppy prices often hitting the £3000 mark. At Pet Rebellion, we recognise that there’s plenty of reasons to want a canine companion, but what was it about the pandemic in particular that drove the British public barking mad for ‘man’s best friend’s? Here’s what we believe were the contributing factors:

Pets in a pandemic: How coronavirus caused a surge in canine sales .  September 2021 Pet Rebellion

Extra walking time: Many of us were struck with the issue of too much free time with too little to do (an issue we might not ever complain about again). If we weren’t combating home renovations, then we were out on long walks until the sun went down. The closure of retail and hospitality sectors meant that we could spend some extra quality time with our furry friends, with many left longing for an extra exploration partner for our treks and travels. 

A solution for loneliness: Without that extra contact from friends and family, it’s safe to say that loneliness wasn’t an uncommon feeling up and down the country. Puppy investments became an ordinary solution to the unwanted feeling, and for some, dogs became lifesavers. A survey from the Office for National Statistics found that 2.6 million adults reported feeling lonely over the pandemic period, and ‘mental health impacts’ soared when it came to young people in particular. This adds up when compared to the demographic of pet purchasers, since more than half of buyers were found to be between the ages of 16-34.

Combating boredom: Unfortunately, our canine pals aren’t always bought for the right reasons. With the year being compared to a never ending ‘groundhog day’ it’s easy to see why the addition of a new family member was seen as a good idea to some. Buying pups out of boredom definitely isn’t advised by us though- it can often lead to awful repercussions such as neglect and lack of knowhow. In April-June 2020 alone, Battersea dogs and cats home received 40,392 applications to rehome dogs. It’s a sad statistic, and a bit of a let down given that we’re a nation of self proclaimed animal lovers.

We pride ourselves in being a company that care for dogs in whatever ways we can. It was the love for our own pooches that inspired the idea for our brand in the first place. In 2009, we created the ‘Stop Muddy Paws’ range to prevent our Leonberger Hugo from suffering any post-walk slipping incidents. We additionally felt that our cocker spaniel Albert needed a comfier invention for his travels to puppy training, which is how we came up with the car seat carpet.

If you’re considering making a canine purchase, we advise that you do plenty of research before you buy, and ensure that it’s completely the right decision for you. It’s a universal truth that dogs think the world of their owners, so we think it’s only right that the feeling remains mutual. If you’ve bought a dog over the lockdown period, please give them lots of love.

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