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astonishing numbers 'Huge spike' in number of people giving up pet dogs as Covid restrictions ease

Dogs Trust Ireland says that they are seeing around eight “surrender requests” a day

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There has been a “huge spike” in the number of people looking to give up their dog as Covid restrictions ease, a leading animal charity has said.

Dogs Trust Ireland says that they are seeing around eight “surrender requests” a day.

Many pets are struggling to adjust to life after lockdown as owners begin to leave the house to go back to work after a year of limiting social interaction and staying at home.

Ciara Byrne, Head of Communications at Dogs Trust Ireland, said that there has been a significant interest in dog owners wanting to give up their pup as things begin to return to normal.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, she said: “Unfortunately, we are seeing a huge spike at the moment - especially since we’ve been emerging from lockdown.

“We’ve had the same number of requests so far this year as we had for the entire of 2020 last year. So, those are quite astonishing numbers, to say the least.

“The most common reason that we’re seeing at the moment is that people are struggling with behaviour issues with their dog. We’re assuming that this could be a large part to do with coming out of lockdown, things are going back to normal and dogs are struggling to cope with that.”

Ciara explained that “dogs are really noticing” that their owners are starting to leave the house more frequently and for longer periods of time.

“Dogs are receptive to anything, so they do notice when things change, even when small things change. They’re quite habitual as well. Some of them really do struggle.

“We want to keep dogs in their homes - that’s our main goal.”

The charity has launched a new campaign called Life After Lockdown: Bark to Basics which offers tips and advice to help dogs cope with the return to normality. 

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Ciara said: “There are lots of things people can do - even just being aware or noticing that their dog may be following them around the house a bit more, they might not want to occupy themselves in their owner’s presence, becoming more attentive to their owners. Or even things a little bit more frustrating like toileting in the house or destructive behaviour.

“Those are the things where unfortunately it gets to that stage where owners decide ‘Uh oh, I can’t cope with this anymore. This is becoming too much for me.’ And we don’t want to get to that stage.

“It’s about noticing the little things your dog might be doing before they get to the big things. Dogs do give you signs - so it’s looking out for the signs and knowing how to cope with them.”

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