If your kid has been campaigning for a pandemic puppy, you’re not alone. A recent survey of 2,000 parents, on behalf of the toy company Present Pets, found that kids will ask for a pet on average 1,584 times, before the age of 18.
The survey found that 78 per cent of kids dream of dog ownership, and starting at age six, the typical child will ask on average 11 times a month for a new pet. In the run-up to the holidays, 62 per cent of kids will double down on their pleading, asking an additional eight times a month. And of course with the pandemic ― and everyone being at home more and in need of more comfort ― many more parents are finally deciding to bring a furry family member into their kids’ lives.
WATCH: Kids beg for a puppy all the time and a third of parents are thinking of caving. Story continues below.
A CBC News story published in October reported that The Canadian Kennel Club estimates inquiries about puppies to breeders have risen by 40 per cent in Canada, since the start of the pandemic. And The Toronto Humane Society reported receiving more than 10,000 adoption applications for pets of all kinds in that same time frame. Demand currently outstrips supply for a pandemic pup.
Toronto mother-of-two Claire Sibonney (formerly a Huffpost Canada editor) rescued a mixed-breed shelter puppy, Daisy, earlier this month. While she was lucky enough to find a newly launched rescue organization with dogs available, in talking with other parents on the hunt for a family dog, she knows many are struggling right now.
“My twin sister is also looking for a small dog for her daughter, and she was told by one breeder to check back in 2023,” Sibonney told HuffPost Canada. Another friend looking for a hypoallergenic breed was also told she’d need to wait at least a year. “Even the rescues have wait lists,” Sibonney said.
In photos: Stories everyone’s talking about. Story continues below.
People are also reporting widespread price gouging. “Prices are upwards of $5,000 per puppy for designer breeds like mini goldendoodles ― and some of those dogs won’t even be available for another two years,” Sibonney said. Many rescue organizations are charging higher adoption fees than before, too. “We paid $800 for our rescue, and donated another $200 to the organization, but we know it all goes towards saving animals from high-kill shelters.”
If you’re looking to welcome a dog into your home, it helps to be flexible about your criteria. Being open to a mutt, an older dog (much less excitable when you have young kids) or a dog with special needs will open up your options.
That said, you do need to find the right match for your family. According to an article published previously in HuffPost Canada, “Experts say you need to examine your lifestyle, living arrangements and finances.”
The energy levels of your family and your new pet need to match well, too. The same article reports experts as saying:
“A high-energy dog won’t be an issue for a physically active family ... but if your family fits into the “couch potato” mould and doesn’t have much more to give at the end of the day, a low-energy dog may be a better fit.
Read the whole article, below, to see if your family is ready for dog ownership. Story continues below.
If someone in your family has dander allergies, there may still be a dog that will work for you. Keeping furry friends out of the bedroom and regular vacuuming with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter may help. Find more tips in this video.
The most important thing to remember right now, is that a puppy isn’t just for the pandemic. People will eventually return full-time to work and school, and life will pick up the pace again when COVID-19 restrictions ease. A dog is a 12-15-year commitment, so even if your kid is asking you for the one thousand, eight-hundred and fifty-forth time to get one, do your research, think carefully and make sure everyone in your family is on board for the responsibility of dog ownership, before saying ‘yes.’
Watch: This adorable dog and baby are BFFs (video below)