Dog days: Germany sees ‘extreme’ demand for pups during pandemic

The number of dog owners in Germany soared last year as people spent more time at home during the partial lockdowns.

Dog days: Germany sees 'extreme' demand for pups during pandemic
Four-year-old Havanese dog Mojito jumps through the snow in the Hofgarten in Munich earlier in January. Photo: DPA

According to the German Canine Association (VDH), 20 percent more dogs were bought by Bundesrepublik residents in 2020 compared to previous years, reported Spiegel.

Whether it was a new labrador or French bulldog, many people decided to grow their pet family.

“The demand is extreme,” said the chairman of the Rhineland-Palatinate VDH, Herbert Klemann.

Breeders are literally “bombarded” with calls and cannot breed as many animals as there is demand. This was already the case in 2020.

“And the demand is still there,” said Klemann. “The fact that the lockdown has been extended is pushing the whole thing even further.”

Due to more families and households spending more time at home because of lockdown measures, there's been a trend nationwide for pet owners increasing.

The number of people nationwide who want puppies is huge, said VDH spokesman Udo Kopernik. “Breeders are getting bombarded (with requests),” he said.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about having a pet in Germany

'Dramatic growth'

Among those who have recently decided on a new animal family member is Markus Söder, of the Christian Social Union.

The Bavarian state premier presented his puppy Molly on Twitter last week – and stole a little attention from his sister party and its new leader: on the same day, the Christian Democrat party conference started, the day after Armin Laschet was elected leader.

VDH spokesman Kopernik, however, is partly critical of the trend for new puppies.

“If parents give in to their children's desire to have a pup but don't actually want a dog themselves, it can only go wrong,” Klemann said.

He fears that many dogs could end up in shelters after the pandemic. “When people go back to work normally and the children can no longer look after the dog, then that becomes a problem.”

READ ALSO: 'A life without a dog is a mistake': Germany's passion for pooches

Commenting on the jump in dog sales, Kopernik said, “It's a dramatic growth, a big step in a very short time.”

In the past 15 years, he said, the number of dogs in Germany has increased from an estimated 6.5 million to ten million. Cities are also registering more applications for dog tax.

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Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

German health ministers say that tougher Covid restrictions should come back into force if a serious wave emerges in autumn.

Germany should prepare for Covid wave in autumn, ministers warn

Following a video meeting on Monday, the health ministers of Germany’s 16 states said tougher restrictions should be imposed again if they are needed. 

“The corona pandemic is not over yet – we must not be deceived by the current declining incidences,” said Saxony-Anhalt’s health minister Petra Grimm-Benne, of the Social Democrats, who currently chairs the Conference of Health Ministers (GMK).

According to the GMK, new virus variants are expected to appear in autumn and winter. Over the weekend, federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) also warned that the more dangerous Delta variant could return to Germany. “That is why the federal Ministry of Health should draw up a master plan to combat the corona pandemic as soon as possible and coordinate it with the states,” Grimm-Benne said.

Preparations should also include an amendment of the Infection Protection Act, ministers urged. They want to see the states given powers to react to the infection situation in autumn and winter. They called on the government to initiate the legislative process in a timely manner, and get the states actively involved.

The current Infection Protection Act expires on September 23rd this year. Germany has loosened much of its Covid restrictions in the last months, however, face masks are still compulsory on public transport as well as on planes. 

READ ALSO: Do people in Germany still have to wear Covid masks on planes?

The health ministers said that from autumn onwards, it should be possible for states to make masks compulsory indoors if the regional infection situation calls for it. Previously, wearing a Covid mask was obligatory in Germany when shopping and in restaurants and bars when not sitting at a table. 

Furthermore, the so-called 3G rule for accessing some venues and facilities – where people have to present proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test – should be implemented again if needed, as well as other infection protection rules, the ministers said. 

Bavaria’s health minister Klaus Holetschek, of the CSU, welcomed the ministers’ unanimous call for a revision of the Infection Protection Act. “The states must be able to take all necessary infection protection measures quickly, effectively, and with legal certainty,” he said.

North Rhine-Westphalia’s health minister Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) warned that no one should “lull themselves into a false sense of security”.

“We must now prepare for the colder season and use the time to be able to answer important questions about the immunity of the population or the mechanisms of infection chains,” he said.

On Tuesday, Germany reported 86,253 Covid infections within the latest 24 hour period, as well as 215 Covid-related deaths. The 7-day incidence stood at 437.6 infections per 100,000 people. However, experts believe there could be twice as many infections because lots of cases go unreported. 

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Covid pandemic in Germany right now