Claire L. Brand
Pandemic Puppies: Demographic characteristics, health and early life experiences of puppies acquired during the 2020 phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK
Brand, Claire L.; O’Neill, Dan G.; Belshaw, Zoe; Pegram, Camilla L.; Stevens, Kim B.; Packer, Rowena M.A.
Dan G. O’Neill
Camilla L. Pegram
Kim B. Stevens
Rowena M.A. Packer
The UK recorded sharp rises in puppy purchasing during the 2020 phase of the COVID-19 pan-demic, with many first-time dog owners purchasing puppies to improve their mental health dur-ing this challenging period. Government restrictions to movement and social interaction during the pandemic led to animal welfare concerns over puppies’ reduced exposures to timely key envi-ronmental and social stimuli during their critical developmental period. This study aimed to compare demographics, health and early-life experiences of puppies purchased and brought home < 16 weeks of age between 23/3/2020-31/12/2020 (“Pandemic Puppies”), with dogs purchased and brought home < 16 weeks during the same date period in 2019 (“2019 puppies”). Questions regarding early life experiences focused upon behaviour soon after acquisition, along with actual and intended socialisation activities under 16 weeks post-purchase, preventative healthcare pro-visions and early health status of puppies. An online survey of UK-based puppy owners was con-ducted between 10 November and 31 December 2020 with valid responses representing 5517 puppies (Pandemic Puppies: n = 4369; 2019 puppies: n = 1148). Multivariable logistic regression models revealed that Pandemic Puppies were less likely to have attended puppy training classes (67.9% 2019 vs. 28.9% 2020; p < 0.001) or had visitors to their home (94.5% 2019 vs. 81.8% 2020; p < 0.001) aged < 16 weeks compared with 2019 puppies. Fewer Pandemic Puppies had undergone veterinary checks prior to purchase than 2019 puppies (2019: 91.3% vs. 2020: 87.4%; p < 0.001), but more were sold with a passport (2019: 4.1% vs. 2020: 7.1%; p < 0.001). Pandemic Puppies were significantly more likely to be ‘Designer Crossbreeds’ (2019: 18.8% vs. 2020: 26.1%; p < 0.001) and less likely to be Kennel Club registered than 2019 puppies (2019: 58.2% vs. 2020: 46.2%; p < 0.001). Greater support from veterinary and animal behavioural professionals is likely needed to ameliorate the health and behavioural impacts of growing up in a pandemic upon this vulnerable population.
Brand, C. L., O’Neill, D. G., Belshaw, Z., Pegram, C. L., Stevens, K. B., & Packer, R. M. (2022). Pandemic Puppies: Demographic characteristics, health and early life experiences of puppies acquired during the 2020 phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Animals, https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050629
|Journal Article Type||Article|
|Acceptance Date||Mar 1, 2022|
|Publication Date||Mar 2, 2022|
|Deposit Date||Feb 3, 2022|
|Publicly Available Date||Mar 7, 2022|
|Peer Reviewed||Peer Reviewed|