Fans across the country can’t get enough of Game of Thrones, but the show has sparked an alarming trend – an increased demand for huskies because of their physical similarities to direwolves.
Adoring viewers are buying the dogs from pet shops and breeders (often naming them after their favourite characters), then – after realising how much work and commitment are required to care for them – dumping them at shelters already bursting at the seams with homeless dogs.
Now, series star Peter Dinklage is teaming up with PETA US to remind fans that dogs should be acquired only as family members and need to be looked after for a lifetime, and he’s urging those who are serious about expanding their family to adopt, never buy.
“Please, to all of Game of Thrones‘ many wonderful fans, we understand that due to the direwolves’ huge popularity, many folks are going out and buying huskies,” Dinklage says. “Not only does this hurt all the deserving homeless dogs waiting for a chance at a good home in shelters, but shelters are also reporting that many of these huskies are being abandoned – as often happens when dogs are bought on impulse, without understanding their needs.”
Since the show premiered in 2011, animal-rescue centres in the UK have reportedly seen a 700 percent increase in abandoned huskies. In the US, two breed-specific rescue groups in Northern California have seen their numbers double over the last two years.
Commenting on the news, Kellie Ceccarelli, Nutrition Expert and Veterinary Training Manager for Eukanuba said:
“Dogs make a great addition to the home but it’s important to ensure that the breed you choose is suited to you, and is not a snap decision based on popular culture.
“Breeds like Huskies and Border Collies require a lot of exercise so aren’t the best choice for those who are away a lot in the day or are less mobile.
“Similarly, puppies might look small but some dogs like the Labradoodle can grow to a large size and so you need to be sure you have the room to look after them properly.
“In order for dogs to thrive it’s important that they are looked after in the best way possible.
“Doing your research before you commit to owning a dog is vital to ensure that you can support them throughout their life, as they grow and develop from puppy through to senior years. Breed-o-pedia is a handy online tool that can help you to understand the care dogs need including regular exercise, ensuring they see the vet when needed, and providing them with a 100 percent complete and balanced diet, offering high quality chicken or lamb as its principle protein source to provide visible benefits with a lifelong impact.”