According to the Guardian, owners of pets bought or adopted during the lockdown are struggling to deal with taking care of or dealing with their new family members. 

Petplan, a pet insurance company, conducted a survey amongst 2,000 pet wonders that showed 46 percent of pet owners between the ages of 18 and 34, and 32 percent between the ages of 35 to 54, regret getting a pet during the lockdown. Out of all the pets, rabbits were the ones that people regretted getting the most. 

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Compared to last June, Wood Green, The Animals Charity, receives 66% more calls on their pet behavior helpline. “They expect pets are going to come into their lives and it will be wonderful and they’ll all live happily ever after. But the reality is it can be difficult,” explains Linda Cantle from Wood Green. 

Cantle told the Guardian that rabbits are high maintenance, aren’t very affectionate, and do not appreciate being picked up. She explained that while many consider rabbits to be a great first pet, when a new owner brings a rabbit home, they find out that rabbits don’t want to be held or play with children and change their minds. 

The fluffy creatures also poop 200 to 300 times a day, need a fellow rabbit companion, and plenty of space to run (and hop) around. Failure to provide these things will result in a depressed rabbit. “A depressed rabbit will become very quiet, eat less, and generally spend lots of time in their sleeping area, hiding,” says Cantle.  The number of concerned rabbit owners calling the pet behavior hotline has doubled in the past year. 

However, rabbits are not the only ones dealing with the repercussions of lockdown. Clinical animal behaviorist Rosie Bescoby told the Guardian, “Some cats really struggle with the kids being home, the noise levels, not being left alone. And cats, when they get stressed, will often urinate around the house. That’s definitely increased.”

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Dogs have also suffered, and there’s been a rise in reports of them behaving more territorially. Puppy class cancellations have also affected owners and dogs alike. The dogs aren’t getting to learn how to socialize, and the owners are struggling to keep their pet companions tame and trained. 

It’s not all bad though, parrots seem to have enjoyed their human parents being at home more – almost too much. Separation anxiety is now an issue for some owners, even if they’re just stepping out of the room.

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If you or someone you know is struggling to take care of a pet, look for your state’s hotline or resources from animal organizations, such as the Animal Humane Society. To cope with all of the changes during this pandemic, PetPlan recommends practicing short-term time alone to mitigate separation anxiety. Other organizations recommend working on training animals and making sure to play with your pet when you are home. However, if keeping a pet is not an option, make sure to surrender the pet to a reputable shelter, rather than abandoning them or irresponsibly giving them away.

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