At the height of lockdown, many welcomed furry friends into their homes, creating a puppy boom. However, now that life has returned to normal for some and others are experiencing job uncertainty, several owners have sadly had to place their dogs in shelters.
According to Battersea, 31% of people who acquired a dog or cat during lockdown hadn't considered becoming pet owners previously, indicating that getting a pet was an impulsive decision based on having an unusual amount of free time.
Being abandoned can cause dogs extreme anxiety and put pressure on local charities, but, thankfully, recent research has revealed a huge interest in adopting dogs across the UK.
Benchmark Kennels have analysed the number of visits to dog shelter websites around the 100 most populated UK towns and cities to discover the areas with the highest demand for rehoming pups.
The top five areas with the most interest in dog adoption
These findings revealed that Watford is currently the most popular area for dog adoption in 2021, with 12,799 average monthly visits to a shelter website.
Bristol closely followed with an average of 11,916 dog adoption website visits per month. In third, Edinburgh had 11,696 site visits.
Cardiff and Newcastle completed the top five UK areas, with 8,442 and 6,994 average monthly traffic retrospectively to dog rescue websites.
Belfast residents show the lowest interest in dog adoption.
In the top 25 UK areas, Belfast dog adoption sites had the least interest, with only 820 monthly visits on average, which equates to just 0.2% of the Northern Ireland capital's population.
However, this low figure isn't hugely surprising as a recent survey cited Belfast as the sixth least dog-friendly place in the UK.
Has dog adoption increased over lockdown?
The overall interest in dog adoption has increased by 14.7% over lockdown. In the first six months of 2020, there was an average monthly number of 1,474 residents per UK town or city visiting dog adoption sites. A year later, this figure climbed to 1,692.
How many people are surrendering their dogs?
The Benchmark Kennels research found that from January to June in 2020, there was an average of 22 monthly visits to 'giving up your dog' websites in each of the 100 most populated towns and cities across the UK, which lowered to 17 during the first six months of 2021.
However, the RSPCA claims to receive 40 calls a day regarding abandoned animals.
Cheryl Sampson, Marketing Manager at Benchmark Kennels, says: “It's so heartening to see that there's been an increase in dog adoption, especially considering that lockdown has also spurred a rise in dog theft and abandonment.
“Adopting a dog is such a wonderful act of kindness, as it gives the pup another chance at a forever-home while also bringing so much joy into the new owner's life.
“Dog adoption is also a huge responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly, as you don't want to repeat the mistakes of the former owner and have to give up the pup later down the line.
“Before committing to this decision, consider if you have time to train, exercise, and care for the pooch, as well as giving them the attention they deserve. There's also the ongoing costs involved to keep in mind, such as vet bills, food, petsitters, grooming, toys, and beds.
“If you're certain dog adoption is right for you, try to ease any stress they may be feeling when welcoming them into your home, and help them adjust to you as their new owner. Providing them with a crate or kennel will give the pup a place to get some peace and quiet if they're feeling overwhelmed."
Contact your local dog rescue centre for further advice or information on adopting a dog in your area.
About Benchmark Kennels
Benchmark Kennels manufacture bespoke dog kennels to suit dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes. You can customise your outdoor kennel to be as luxurious or minimalist as required, built using various materials from wooden to WPC eco-thermal kennels with extra insulation. You can order a kennel directly from our website or get in touch with us for further advice on the best kennel for your dog's needs.