There's no doubt about how comforting it is to have an animal at home with you, especially at a scary time when many of us are stuck indoors while a pandemic rages outside.
And yet animal welfare experts are warning people not to be tempted to pick up a pet as a solution to the loneliness of social distancing.
Unless you're able and willing to commit to the long-term responsibility that comes with the pet, animal welfare specialists are advising against seeking out a new lockdown companion right now.
Animal owners must consciously make a decision to take responsibility for a living being, says Hester Pommerening of the German Animal Welfare Association.
At a time of historic restrictions on movement, it's unclear whether owners can give a dog or cat the care it needs, Pommerening says.
This is especially valid for elderly people or anyone who might otherwise be vulnerable to Covid-19, even if a pet is just what they might need to help them while they are deprived of social contact, animal welfare specialists say.
If an elderly person's mind is set on getting a cat or dog, Pommerening suggests getting an older animal. That's because older animals and older people often have similar needs, for example lots of rest. An older dog also won't insist on regular walks. – dpa
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