Dog-sitters in the UK are charging more than £100 a night to look after one dog after a huge rise in demand caused prices to soar.
A combination of 3.2 million new pets bought during the pandemic and a shortage of dog walkers and sitters has led to the enormous price rise as dog owners are desperate to find people to watch their pooches.
Another factor contributing to the squeeze is that lots of kennels were forced to close down during the Covid lockdowns.
Dog-sitting website Rover.com told FEMAIL they had seen a 246% global rise in bookings since the beginning of the pandemic.
Dog-sitting website Rover.com said there has been an increase in demand of 246% since the pandemic began in 2020
Between 2021 and 2022 alone the service saw an 81% increase in new and repeat bookings.
In particular, the rise has most commonly stemmed from metropolitan areas.
One dog-sitter based in south London, who lists her services on Rover.com, charges £115 minimum per night to dog-sit.
She charges significantly less for house-sitting (where she looks after the pooch in their own home).
However, another woman on the site, based in the same area, charges £104 for a night of dog-sitting both in her own home and in the pooch’s home.
Claiming to have 10 years’ experience looking after pets, she describes herself as an animal lover and has two stellar reviews singing her praises.
In March 2021, just before the third Covid lockdown came to an end, UK supermarkets warned of a potential shortage in supplies of cat and dog food due to a rise in demand as the number of pandemic pets soared.
Figures released by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association revealed that 56% of new animal owners were under the age of 35, while 59% of the new owners had children at home.
Nicole Paley, deputy chief executive of the PFMA, said: ‘With millions working from home or furloughed from their jobs, many have clearly considered the numerous benefits of pet ownership.
‘Now, more than ever, we know that the companionship and joy pets can bring to people’s lives shouldn’t be under-estimated.’
She added that, amid the huge increase in dog ownership, people should think about the ‘long-term responsibilities’ of bringing a pet into your life and how your working situation may change in the future, meaning you’re not working from home as much.
It is thought that summer holiday season has spiked the demand for dog-sitting services even more, as many pet owners are planning to jet off abroad for weeks at a time.
MailOnline previously reported that one in five people who had bought a new pooch during lockdown were considering rehoming their new pets after Covid restrictions began to ease.
Two Pomeranian Chihuahua crosses, just eight weeks old, are up for sale in Haringey, London, after owner was ‘offered a new job and change of circumstances’
A seven-month-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier for sale in Chingford, London, due to owners ‘not having enough time for him’
Research from The Kennel Club said 17% of new dog owners were concerned that offices, restaurants and pubs, which were all beginning to reopen to people, would not be dog-friendly.
Spokesperson for The Kennel Club, Bill Lambert, said: ‘If dogs can’t go to places with their owners, and fit their lifestyle post-pandemic, some will be left home alone for too long, or even sadly rehomed or abandoned.
‘These consequences could be quite devastating for the nation’s dogs, who frankly don’t deserve to be left behind after being a lifeline for so many during lockdown.’
In January 2021 The RSPCA said it was concerned about the number of adverts popping up online of people either selling their new pets or giving them away for free.
Heartbreaking photos of adorable puppies and kittens were posted on websites like Gumtree selling the animals.
One listing, which advertised two Chihuahua-Pomeranian cross puppies in Haringey, north London, said the current owner of the dogs was giving them up due to ‘a change of circumstances’.
And a seven-month-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier in Chingford, Essex was put up for sale after the owners admitted they didn’t ‘have enough time for him’.
It was also reported that puppies bought during the pandemic in the US were showing signs of stress and anxiety as their owners returned to work.
Researchers from Auburn University discovered that pandemic puppies were more anxious when meeting other people and other dogs because they had spent the first three months of their lives, which are crucial for development, cooped up inside.