Over 400 dogs have been surrendered to Dogs Trust since Christmas.
The figure represents a 33% increase on the same period in 2022 and many of the dogs have behavioural issues.
“As thankful as we are that people contact us, rather than abandoning their dogs, it does take up a huge volume of our resources helping [them],” Dogs Trust Communications Manager Corina Fitzsimons told Newstalk.
“We’re appealing for donations from the public because a lot of the dogs that we’re seeing at the moment have behavioural issues from not being socialised during the pandemic - so, they would not have experienced normal life.”
High demand for their services is not unique to Dogs Trust; last summer, Madra rescue centre in Galway said they were “overwhelmed” with surrender requests.
“The consequences of COVID are really showing themselves now and there’s more to come,” Madra founder Marina Fiddler told Newstalk.
“But whatever is happening to people is also happening to animals; so, if there’s more people financially distressed or suffering from anxiety or ill-health - that all transfers to the pet dogs as well.
“So we’re seeing the results of that now.”
Other shelters have been sending dogs to Italy and Sweden where stricter breeding rules means they have a shortage of pets.
“Ireland has always produced too many unwanted dogs for the size of our population,” Pete ‘The Vet’ Wedderburn told Newstalk Breakfast.
“There are other parts of the world, like Sweden and Italy, where they have a shortage of the type of dog that Ireland produces.
“Ireland produces dogs like collies and terriers - those kinds of little crossbreeds - and those countries, they don’t have so many of those. So, they love the Irish dog.
“Whereas, we look at the UK, they tend to produce more bull terrier types. If you go to the dog rescue centres, they’re full of bull terriers.
“So, people like the Irish flavour of dogs - that’s what it comes down to.”
Main image: A four-week-old puppy who is being hand reared in Dogs Trust Ireland. Image: Fran Veale