The UK's puppy buying habits could be leading to a welfare crisis and causing untold financial and emotional distress for consumers. This is what shocking new research released for Puppy Awareness Week (12-18 September) has found.
Unfortunately the reality is that many people are still buying puppies from disreputable sources and may not necessarily realise that they are in fact buying from a puppy farmer who has no regard for the health and welfare of their dogs.
The new research, carried out by the Kennel Club, found that half of pups bought online or from newspaper adverts without being seen first fall sick, and around one in five ends up with serious gastro-intestinal problems. This is resulting in one in five people who bought a pup in those ways having to spend between £500 and £1,000 on vets' bills in the first six months of the puppy's life - often more than the original cost of the puppy. At a time when most people do not have a great deal of extra cash, this is causing puppy buyers a great deal of financial and emotional strain. Over a third of people who ended up with a sick pup after buying online or from newspaper ads experienced financial problems due to cost, and 35 per cent suffered from emotional problems.
Furthermore, over a third of puppies bought online or from a newspaper ad without being seen first were bought as a spur of the moment decision, with almost two thirds being bought solely because of the way they looked, indicating that people aren't doing the proper research they should be doing before buying a puppy and are not choosing a breed because of its suitability to their lifestyle.
The Kennel Club is increasingly concerned about irresponsible breeders who put profit over health and welfare and is keen to highlight the importance of going to a responsible breeder. Insurance data released by Agria Pet Insurance ahead of Puppy Awareness Week has revealed that the only scheme in the UK dedicated to monitoring dog breeders, the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme, is improving the health of dogs and saving owners money. The data highlights that dogs bred by Assured Breeders are costing owners on average 18 per cent less in unplanned veterinary fees and are 23 per cent less likely to need to visit the vet. This highlights how by going to a responsible breeder, puppy buyers can do their part to ensure they end up with a healthy pup.
It's absolutely shocking that people are still buying puppies online or from newspaper adverts without seeing the puppy first. Not only do puppies end up suffering as a result of being irresponsibly bred and sold, but consumers are being utterly duped into thinking they will end up with a healthy puppy, when the reality is that buying a pup from a disreputable source is likely to cost them dearly, both emotionally and financially. This is especially true when a puppy buyer does not even see the puppy before purchase, which is why the Kennel Club is highlighting the importance of seeing the puppy with its mother in its breeding environment before committing to buy.
It's absurd that people are likely to take less care buying a puppy than they do when buying a kitchen appliance, and they may well be unknowingly supporting the cruel puppy farming trade as a result. It is crucial for anyone thinking about getting a dog to go to a responsible breeder, such as a Kennel Club Assured Breeder, or to a rescue organisation, and to know what to look for when they do so to stop puppy farmers from selling sickly pups and causing puppy buyers untold emotional and financial distress.
For more information about buying a puppy responsibly and for the Kennel Club's do's and don'ts of buying a puppy, visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/PAW.