Pandemic puppies and dogs with behavioural problems filling the UK’s dog rescues - Veterinary Practice
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Pandemic puppies and dogs with behavioural problems filling the UK’s dog rescues

New research by Agria Pet Insurance shows the continued and alarming impact on the situation for dogs resulting from the pandemic, with the Agria Dog Walk raising money for UK dog rescue groups

Many months since the start of the first UK lockdown, new research by Agria Pet Insurance shows the continued and alarming impact on the situation for dogs resulting from the pandemic. It is reported that more than half of the dogs handed into rescues are younger than two years old, with a significant proportion of those needing homes suffering from behavioural issues. 

The rescues surveyed are also finding a continuing increase in dogs and puppies coming into their care since the start of the pandemic, resulting in over three-quarters of dog rescues currently almost, or totally full. 

Specialist breed rescue, German Shepherd Rescue Elite (GSRE), comments on the age of the dogs they are caring for: “Many of the dogs coming under our care were COVID-19 puppies that are now aged between one and two years old. No longer an adorable puppy, but a clever, energetic dog who requires exercise, good food, training, and love.” 

In response to these findings, Agria Pet Insurance is uniting the nation’s dogs this September to help dogs and puppies in need of a home. The Agria Dog Walk is a fully virtual event created to encourage owners of more fortunate dogs to help those having a harder time – just by dedicating a walk to a UK dog rescue, and donating to one of a selection included in the campaign.

Designed to be inclusive and reach every dog owner in the UK, the aim is to raise as much money during the month as possible. For everyone who donates £5 or more, Agria Pet Insurance will also donate £5.

Rehoming Partner Manager at Agria Pet Insurance, Karen Green, says: “The situation we’re seeing in dog rescue now is a crippling perfect storm for many of them. Not only are they fuller than ever, but the behavioural issues shown by many of the dogs now needing homes often results in a much longer time needed before they are ready to be adopted – blocking places needed by other dogs. With significant financial pressures on top of this, many rescues we work with are at breaking point.” 

Aberdeen-based charity, Mrs Murray’s Home for Stray Cats and Dogs, explains how much donations mean to their rescue: “Like all charities, we have seen a decrease in our income due to the pandemic, and our supporters also facing their own financial problems, so maybe can’t support us like they used to. Any extra donations to us would mean so much, enabling us to buy enrichment items for the dogs in our care and help with veterinary costs.”

This latest research from the specialist pet insurer builds on their survey of UK puppy owners last year. This indicated that behaviour issues among ‘lockdown puppies’ were often the biggest challenge for new owners. Tom Vaughan, head of marketing at Agria Pet Insurance, says: “Our own research in 2020, together with many more reports of the pandemic’s impact on dogs, led us to want to find out more about what the situation is right now in rescues – and do something practical to help.

“As a dog owner myself, and working among a team of dog owners and animal lovers, it’s heart-breaking to discover the continued impact the past year is having on dogs, and also on the amazing rescues working so hard to do all they can to help. The Agria Dog Walk brings dogs and dog owners together to help those that need it the most.”

To find out more about the Agria Dog Walk, and to donate, visit, or see their Facebook page.

Veterinary Practice

Veterinary Practice is an online knowledge and information hub for veterinary professionals across all specialties. It provides reliable, useful and interesting content, written by expert authors and covering small animal, large animal, equine and practice management sectors of the veterinary surgeon and nursing professions.

More from this author

Have you heard about our
IVP Membership?

A wide range of veterinary CPD and resources by leading veterinary professionals.

Stress-free CPD tracking and certification, you’ll wonder how you coped without it.

Discover more