Animal charities are concerned that there will be a surge in dogs being given up as coronavirus restrictions ease.

The Dogs Trust says there is an "historic trend" of it happening as the rules start to relax and we come out of lockdown. These new rules take effect from Saturday. Hope Rescue Centre in Rhondda Cynon Taf said demand for its dogs had increased five-fold with the pandemic.

Dogs Trust's operations director, Adam Clowes, says lockdown provided an opportunity for people to get dogs as they spent more time at home. But he said that as the UK had come out of previous lockdowns, there had started to be an increase in people giving up their dogs.

That dropped down again during subsequent lockdowns. Restrictions are starting to be eased in Wales as the infection rate continues to fall and vaccine programme is rolled out. You can check cases for your area here.

Mr Clowes told BBC Wales: "We know there's a historic trend for people having to give up their dogs through hard times, it's just we've not hit that hard time yet, because we've had several false starts coming out of lockdown. But we've got some really worrying trends that we've seen already."

The charity said behaviour issues were the primary reason for dogs being given up and that lockdown may have exacerbated these, due to lack of socialisation and things like puppy classes being less accessible.

Dogs Trust is running online training classes to help owners prepare dogs for changes and prevent behavioural issues as lockdown restrictions ease.

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Hope Rescue Centre's welfare and adoption head, Sara Rosser, said applications had increased from an average of 1,000 each year to 5,000 in 2020, while the number of dogs available to be rehomed had halved.

"What we're now seeing happening is that often if someone isn't coping with a dog, they then choose to sell it on because the demand is so high," Ms Rosser said.

"And the issue with that is, especially if the dog has a behaviour or a medical problem, and that isn't treated, is that those problems get exacerbated and by the time that dog then reaches us, we've got quite a lot of work to do to prepare that dog to be rehomed."

Wales' chief veterinary officer, Christianne Glossop, urged people to get advice from a vet before buying a dog, or if they were struggling with one.

A new law was passed in Wales last month changing the rules around buying puppies and kittens.

The regulations mean that puppies and kittens must be sold at the same premises where they have been bred, by the people who have bred them. This enables the new owners of pets to see where their animals have been born.

Ms Glossop said: "What we have done is is ban the third party sale of puppies and kittens. What that means in practice is that you won't be able to buy a puppy or kitten from a trader. You will be buying that puppy or kitten directly from the person who bred that animal. You will be buying that puppy or kitten directly from the house or home where it was born.

"That gives us a real assurance that the animal has not had too many journeys or changed hands too often. It would have been properly socialised as well and being cared for all the way to the point you take it on."