As it turns out, the most in-demand items during the COVID-19 pandemic are not toilet paper, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Rather, it is pets that people are wanting the most.
When the virus began to rip through communities around the world, people quickly began to bunker down inside their homes. This time of togetherness led people to think of creative ways to stay occupied and connected with those around them, yet also left them longing for physical affection. The solution, for many, was simple: It seemed like the perfect time to bring a new four-legged family member into their home.
Pandemic pets are all the rage this year, and a recent Boston Herald article notes that puppies from breeders are in high demand across the country. While people are spending extra time at home right now and may be able to devote more energy to raising a dog, it's important to consider whether now is the right time to bring a new pet into the home.
These are a few things to consider before you decide if a pandemic pet is right for you:
Your Availability Right Now — And in the Future
You may be working from home now, with plenty of flexibility to help your dog get to the bathroom outside. You can probably use your lunch hour to take a walk around the neighborhood, and your short commute from the home office to your living space means that you are readily available to play with your new pup.
However, in all likelihood, you will return to a more rigid schedule in the coming weeks and months. After the pandemic, will you still have the time and flexibility needed to care for a dog? Your pet will quickly become accustomed to having you around all the time, and it may be difficult for them if you return to working outside the home for 40 hours or more each week.
It is absolutely critical that you consider the time constraints you have under normal circumstances before you commit to bringing a new pet into your home.
Your Knowledge of Various Dog Breeds
Dog breeders have recently discovered that their pups are in high demand, but it's important that you learn more about the dog that you are considering before you decide to adopt it. Different breeds have different needs. Some are more high-energy breeds, and they require a home with plenty of outdoor space. Some dog breeds are not recommended for families with young children. Other breeds require additional care, such as grooming. While a certain type of puppy may seem particularly cute, it's important that you learn more about the personality traits and instincts that it will have before you add it to your family. If you are adopting from a rescue, make sure that you talk with the rescue about the dog's personality and what type of home would be a good fit for that dog.
Your Ability to Adapt to Life with a Dog
Dogs of all ages are cute — there is no denying that — but they can be a lot of work. You need to realistically assess your lifestyle, and determine if you are willing or able to adapt to life with a new pet. A few things to consider:
- Your dog may have to be potty trained. If you adopt a young puppy, you may be waking up several times a night, similar to what you would need to do with a newborn baby.
- Your dog may have behavioral issues that need to be addressed. It is important that you are mindful of any behavior issues, and work quickly to address them.
- Dogs require playtime and exercise. Your new pet will have a lot of energy, and you have to help them use it constructively so they do not resort to being destructive.
Your Level of Commitment and Self-Motivation
It is important that you work to train your dog. Dog training requires consistency, motivation and perseverance. You need to be committed to training your pet, and motivated to continue that training for weeks on end. New puppies will not be potty trained overnight, and they also will not be behaviorally trained immediately. Older dogs may require additional training in order to correct learned behaviors that are problematic. Training of all types takes hard work and effort, and you need to make sure you are willing and able to do what it takes to give your pet the best possible start in your home.
Your Financial Circumstances
Not only will you have to dedicate a lot of time to your new dog, but you also will have to invest your financial resources into your pet. Beyond the initial expense of purchasing a dog from a breeder or adopting one from a rescue group, you also will have to consider the cost of purchasing pet supplies, vaccinating your dog and providing it with the health care it needs throughout its lifetime. This pandemic has ushered in an era of uncertainty, so you will want to be confident that you have the financial resources needed to support your new pal throughout its entire lifetime.
Your Family's Willingness to Welcome a New Pet
Perhaps it is your own personal dream to bring a new pet into the home, but your dog will also be living with everyone else in your house as well. It is important that every member of your family is on board with adding a pup to the family. You should consider your family's personal preferences as well as any possible allergies before you adopt your pet.
In these unprecedented times, it's not surprising that people are searching for something that will bring joy, love, laughter and plenty of cuddles into their home. However, it's important to remember that the pandemic is temporary, but pets will be part of your family for years to come.
If you decide to welcome a new dog into the home, make sure that you have done your research and you are prepared to make the necessary lifestyle adjustments. Your local veterinarian can provide you with more information about raising a dog, and you can decide if now is the best time to add a pet to your family.