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“I regret getting a dog”

June 18, 2021

According to new research findings, a quarter of pet owners say they have regrets or concerns about getting a pet during lockdown. So, what help is available to support you if you regret getting a dog? 

The research findings

The research, commissioned by the pet insurance company Petplan, found that 26% of pet owners in the UK have regrets or concerns about getting a lockdown pet. They cited worries about the cost of pet ownership and potential health problems.

The survey also found that 40% of new pet owners were concerned about balancing pet ownership with the easing of lockdown.

These findings are further confirmed by animal welfare charities. They say that they are preparing for an influx of abandoned ‘pandemic puppies’ as the lockdown measures ease and owners return to work. The change in circumstances could make it more difficult for dog owners who work to meet the needs of their pets. In addition, there is concern that some dogs could develop separation anxiety when their owners return to work.

What is separation anxiety? 

Dogs are social animals, and can get anxious if left alone. Signs that your dog has separation anxiety, include: 

  • Barking and howling 
  • Chewing and destroying items in the house, including furniture
  • Weeing or pooing in the house

Once a dog develops separation anxiety, it often requires the help of a professional dog behaviourist

Can you prevent separation anxiety in dogs? 

All dogs will at some point need to spend time alone at home, without their owners, which means they need to be taught how to spend time alone. This is quite simple to do; however, it needs to be done gradually so that your dog has time to get used to being alone before you return to work. 

The advice from dog experts is that dogs shouldn’t be left alone for more than four hours at a time. If you work an eight hour day, and are unable to pop home at lunchtime to give your dog some company and exercise, you might want to think about hiring a professional to help care for your dog. 

Dog care options for working dog owners

There are a number of dog care options for working dog owners. These include hiring a dog walker or using doggy day care. Do your research carefully to find the right option for you and your dog. 

Bear in mind that, due to the large numbers of people who got a puppy during lockdown, the dog care services are in high demand. Start planning early to make arrangements for your dog, to avoid a last minute panic when you return to work. 

What to do if you are having problems with your dog

If you are having problems with your dog, such as them showing signs of separation anxiety or being aggressive towards other dogs or people, you should seek professional help. A dog behaviourist can help to identify the cause of the problem and work with you to solve it. 

What to do if you regret getting a puppy

It’s not uncommon for new puppy owners to experience a period of regret about getting a dog. This is because puppies are really hard work – something that often takes new puppy parents by surprise. 

A survey of first-time dog owners commissioned by Our Family Dog found that most people struggle with their new puppy. As well as feeling happy and excited about their new arrival: 59% of new puppy owners said they felt exhausted, 54% said they felt overwhelmed, and 51% said they felt anxious.

If you are a new puppy owner, you might be interested in our Puppy Parenting Club. As a member you’ll get exclusive access to expert advice and community support to guide you through the first year.

What to do if you no longer want your dog

If you are no longer able to look after your dog and want to find them a new home, the best thing to do is contact a dog rehoming centre. There are national charities such as Blue Cross, Dogs Trust, RSPCA, SSPCA or USPCA who can help you, or you could try a local rescue organisation. The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes is a useful resource to find a dog rehoming centre in your area.  

Alternatively, you could rehome your dog through a breed rescue organisation. You can find breed rescue societies for all breeds of dogs. Animal Rescuers is a helpful resource. For Cockapoos try the Cockapoo Club of Great Britain, and the Doodle Trust for Labroodles.