As we continue to face a national lockdown and increased restrictions on our daily lives, there can be no doubt that owning a dog has been one of the few joys for many people during the covid-19 pandemic. Not only have they brought joy and excitement to mundane daily routines, but they have also had an extremely positive effect on the mental health and happiness of many. 

During May this year, as lockdown continued and peope adjusted to the 'new normal' of working from home, there was a 237% increase in searches for puppies via 'Find a Puppy' compared to May 2019. The popular retailer 'Pets at Home' saw their revenues rise by 5.1% from April to October.

Zena Turvey, 46 from Mortlake, told me that "getting our springer spaniel puppy has been the best thing for our family in lockdown- it's like therapy!". She believes that "there's nothing like the unconditional love from a puppy during a time like this". 

I also spoke to Ava Lewallen, 19, who said "my lockdown puppy Wilfred has really helped with my anxiety. I have a great excuse to leave the house and a companian that never fails to calm me and put a smile on my face".

Our four-legged friends have had it pretty good too - having their owners around them, ready for walks, attention and cuddles 24/7 must have made those tails wag even more!

However, the boom of puppy sales during the pandemic has raised some concerns that perhaps some puppies could be abandoned once life gains a bit of normality again and owners don't have the time to look after them as easily. 15% of the 2,262 puppy owners in a recent UK survey were worried about whether they can afford their dog and the related costs, for example insurance, vet bills and food. 

As well as this, whilst it is undeniable that there has been a large rise in the 'supply and demand' of puppies during the pandemic, the price of some has more than doubled during lockdown with the average puppy costing almost a massive £1,900. Could these vast prices encourage the smuggling and theft of puppies, or even "puppy farming"?

The happy distraction of getting a new family dog during the covid-19 pandemic has been a triumph for their owners in such tough, turbulent times. But should we also consider the possible risks of a dog welfare crisis when life returns to normal and people go back to work, as well as the surge of prices leading to dodgy dog theft? 

For now, let's make the most of these joyful pets and enjoy the fresh air, endorphins and company that comes with them.