Three Point Two Million. That's a staggering 3.2 million additional dogs living in the UK since the pandemic began, according to the PDSA. That makes the doggy population the biggest since records began at a whopping 14 million.
The demand for puppies during Covid has now, tragically, shifted into a demand for good homes. Thousands of young dogs are being re-sold online instead of being handed over, responsibly, to a rescue centre.
To add insult to injury, many new pet parents are struggling to cope with a raft of behavioural issues, including Separation Anxiety - caused by a lack of all-important socialisation and, simply, little to no experience with dogs.
The Government’s Animal Action Plan proposes a raft of new legislation, which aims to set the UK as a world leader in animal welfare and might help balance the concept of dogs as just a commodity or fashion accessory by classifying them as sentient beings.
My biggest bugbear is that there appears to be a fundamental link missing in understanding how dogs communicate and what makes them tick.
Spending enough time getting to know your dog through training, shared experience and bonding with proactive pampering is something I cannot stress enough!
For me it’s about taking your dog with you as much as you can, and there’s no reason why you can’t now!
As canny entrepreneurs make work places dog friendly, and the hospitality sector welcomes pooches, some even adding ‘puptails’ to a drinks menu, there’s an estimated one million pooches set to accompany their owners to the office this Autumn.
Apart from training your dog to settle and not to bark, regular grooming and massage helps metropolitan doggies head confidently to the office or even board room!
Science has proved that dogs in the workplace needn’t get up our noses, they reduce our stress and boost productivity, providing they’re well behaved and well groomed.
On the subject of whiffy pups, my Bull terrier, Prudence, just loves to roll in fox poop, and training her a bath time drill has paid dividends. But not all dogs like bath time!
I think it’s partly down to so many synthetic ingredients and scents like bubble gum or chocolate fudge cake, which must really get up dog’s noses!
That’s why the new pet care company Sniffe & Likkit is all about the ‘sniff’ in its grooming, homecare, and gifting range.
Among other things, dogs’ communication skills rely heavily on their super acute sense of smell.
With 220 million scent receptors in their noses - compared to our humble five million - dogs can detect a teaspoon of sugar diluted by two Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Therefore, the aromatherapeutic signature scent in all Sniffe & Likkit’s grooming range is formulated with key essential oils like Cedarwood, Petitgrain and Vetiver.
When massaged into the skin and coat it calms, soothes and builds confidence. It’s a natural scent that makes sense to a dog.
You can get peace of mind by knowing that this range is about natural, ethically sourced ingredients. The founders are veterans from Soap and Glory’s human skincare products. Bringing the strict ethics of transparency in human skincare to the world of dogs, Sniffe & Likkit is a brand you can trust.
I know when I’m out and about a quick spray with Give a Dog A Cologne, a coat conditioning mist, will make my dogs gleam. Or the Wippets -cleaning cloths (cleverly packaged in handy sachets) deal with muddy paws, or anything wiffy in a jiffy.
Or their unique 100% natural dry shampoo called No Rinse Prince Charming. Made with a clever combination of dry ingredients, it’s like a super fine talcum powder. Featuring Fuller’s Earth, sometimes also known as Diatomaceous Earth. This is the natural insecticide used by organic farmers. Apart from killing pesky bugs like fleas, it traps dust and dirt when massaged or groomed through the coat.
The Sniffe & Likkit bath time is experience is also perfect for Prudence as the Fragrant Furcoat 3 in 1 shampoo packs a powerhouse of natural antibacterial ingredients like White Willow Bark, cleansers like Quillaja Bark and nourishing skin conditioner like Shea Butter just in one wash.
So, whether you’re out and about and need to freshen up your hairy hound or just enjoy pampering your pooch at bathtime, this is not a firm to be sniffed at!
Anna Webb is one of the UK's leading dog behaviour and nutrition experts. From BBC to Radio London, Anna is a broadcaster, author and devoted Dog Mum.
There’s a special 15% discount on all the range – just add the code ANNA15 to your shopping basket
You can read more from Anna or ask her a question on her website.