The UK’s final stages of lockdown are set to come to an end on 19 July and many dog owners will be returning to the office leaving their pets at home.
With research showing that an estimated 3.2 millions households acquired a pet during the lockdown, animal welfare organizations are concerned about pets who are not used to being alone.
Bill Lambert, an animal welfare expert at the Kennel Club, said that as the country opens up, workplaces have a role to play in recognizing that lifestyles and priorities have changed for many people since the pandemic began. One aspect of which is the rise in pet ownership.
A study by the Kennel Club found that over a third, or 35%, were worried about leaving their dog at home and how they would cope after spending so much time together during lockdown, according to the Kennel Club.
More than one in four, or 28%, worried that they would not be able to give their dog the time and care they need because of a return to the workplace, and a quarter worried about not being able to be with their dog all the time.
Meanwhile, 17% of pet owners admitted they have considered rehoming as an option post-lockdown.
“Hospitality, businesses and workplaces can play a role in combatting the looming welfare crisis faced by this pandemic pup generation by being open for dogs; helping owners to introduce or re-introduce their pet to ‘normal’, without leaving them behind, and preventing a legacy of separation anxiety,” Lambert said.
“Following a year of lockdown restrictions impacting business, dog friendly policies can also reap economic benefits across the board. According to our research more than one in two owners claim they would happily stay longer and spend more if their dog was with them whilst out socializing at a pub, cafe or restaurant,” Lambert added.
According to experts, there are important considerations for workplaces before taking steps to allow pets into the office. This includes legal obligations to adhere to the rules of the building, and employee health and wellbeing concerns such as allergies.
“Dogs should be a part of our lives and daily routines as much as possible, and we hope to see the UK being as faithful to dogs as they are, and have been, to us,” Lambert said.