Many people are currently severely limited, with the coronavirus pandemic leading to lockdowns or even a quarantine. During this unusual isolation period, the desire for a four-legged companion grows for many animal lovers. If not now – when? After all, many have plenty of time right now to spend with a new pet. We will explain why spontaneous dog purchases aren't a good idea.
Dog adoption during the COVID-19 lockdown
© Eva / stock.adobe.com
Coronavirus lockdown and its consequences
No parties, no visits, no colleagues in an open-plan office: many people are struggling with the restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. Especially those living alone are now longing for a four-legged housemate. Many click through social media posts and get the impression that the lockdown must be much easier with a dog as company! Not just this though: dog owners always have a good reason to go outside with their dog! Some parents see dogs as a practical activity for their offspring. However, spur-of-the-moment dog purchases often end up in an animal shelter. Although a dog brings a great deal of joy, it takes up a lot of time, money and sometimes nerves for years on end. Hence, extra time during coronavirus isolation should never be the decisive factor for adopting a dog.
Questions for future dog owners
Would you like to give a dog a new home? If you haven't done so already, you should now look for answers to the following questions:
- Will I also have the time and inclination after the coronavirus limitations to take care of a dog for two to three hours a day?
- Can I take a dog with me to work? A dog shouldn't stay on its own for longer than four hours on a regular basis.
- Can I take on the monthly costs for a dog along with basic equipment and the purchase price?
- Do I have enough savings to pay for an operation or extensive veterinary treatment in an emergency?
- Who will take care of my dog when I'm on holiday or sick?
- Am I allergic to dog hair? An allergy test at home or at your GP will clear this up – ideally after the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Dog hairs on the sofa, time-consuming training – am I prepared to drastically change my day-to-day life?
How can I adopt a dog during the COVID-19 lockdown?
If you're sure you want to take a dog into your home after extensive consideration, you can do so during the coronavirus pandemic. Some animal lovers currently have a lot of time to deal with getting the dog settled in. However, bear in mind that a 180º transition of day-to-day routine after the coronavirus pandemic can have fatal consequences for dogs. It can become a problem if they suddenly have to spend longer periods alone without being used to it, so you should have enough time for your dog after corona isolation too. It can currently be difficult or take longer to adopt a pet. Be patient and ideally wait for a pet from a reputable source rather than making a snap purchase. Use the waiting period to prepare basic equipment and to read up on life with a dog.
Animal shelters during the coronavirus pandemic
Has my regional animal shelter opened and is rehoming animals? There isn't a uniform answer to this question either in Europe or at national level in many countries. Hence, you're best off looking on the websites of regional animal shelters. Some are closed for visitors and give information online about current options. Animal shelters in Ireland had to postpone animal adoption due to the coronavirus pandemic which left them struggling financially and are unable to accept new arrivals. We will update this article, should the situation change.
Adopting a dog from abroad
International animal protection organisations are particularly suffering from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, because they are lacking numerous funds from donations and rehoming fees, as is the case with regional animal shelters. In addition, transporting dogs is barely possible or only under strict conditions. However, it is currently possible to adopt dogs from Greece, Bulgaria or Romania with some international animal welfare organisations. This can save lives, because captured dogs are simply put to sleep in a killing station after a certain time. If there is no rehoming, animal shelters become overcrowded and can't take in any dogs from killing stations. Nevertheless, don't make a decision under time pressure. Make sure to get good advice to find a dog that is a good fit for you and your circumstances. The organisation in question shouldn't just focus on rehoming, but on animal welfare in the country of origin, for instance, with local neutering.
A puppy from a breeder
If you decide on a puppy from a breeder, you should ideally search in your own region, because no long journeys are permitted depending on the region and coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Many breeders currently don't want to receive any home visits to prevent the spread of the virus. If you visit a breeder at their home to collect or meet a puppy, you should do so alone and with the corresponding hygiene precautions. The rest of the family can look forward to photos and stories. Resourceful breeders will give insights into the puppy area with video conferences. Due to coronavirus regulations, it can take longer than planned in some cases until a dog is allowed to move into its new home. This is no problem with responsible breeders who focus in depth on socialising and training. You're best off being patient instead of rushing to buy a puppy from an unscrupulous breeder without the adequate paperwork or even from a car boot.
Fostering dogs during lockdown
Some animal shelters tell of people interested in providing a foster home to dogs during the coronavirus pandemic, because they are spending plenty of time at home and want to give a shelter dog a kind of holiday. However, this isn't a good idea from the dog's perspective: it will barely have got used to its new home when it has to return to the animal shelter. Only those who want to and are able to care for an animal until its final rehoming should offer a foster home. In some contexts, a temporary dog can nevertheless be a help during the corona crisis. For instance, if dog owners have to go into quarantine. If they don't have a garden, there is no way to get through the quarantine with their dog, because owners are not allowed to leave the house for walks during the quarantine period. In social networks, volunteers who take on dogs in such cases organise amongst themselves. Be warned that you have to comply with strict hygiene regulations when the dog is handed over and may not enter the owner's home.