Research for the Kennel Club’s (KC) Puppy Awareness Week has shown one in 10 people bought a puppy online without seeing it first.
Puppy Awareness Week runs from September 1 to 7 and the KC has used the occasion to highlight its concerns surrounding the issue of puppy farming.
KC data also shows one fifth of the puppies purchased online, without being seen by their new owner first, ended up with serious gastrointestinal problems, 15% had parvovirus and one in 10 developed kennel cough. A further 15% of people continue to buy their puppies from pet shops and almost one in five of these contracted the potentially deadly parvovirus (18%).
There is also increasing concern about puppy farmers abroad supplying dealers with puppies to sell on to the public. Defra figures indicate there was a 61% increase in pups coming into the UK from abroad in the first year since the controls were relaxed under changes to the Pet Travel Scheme in 2012, and that does not account for the undeclared dogs smuggled illegally into the country.
KC secretary Caroline Kisko said: “Sadly, it is all too easy for puppy buyers to be duped by irresponsible breeders, whose puppies end up with severe health and behavioural problems because of the terrible start they have had in life.
“It is absolutely shocking that people are still buying from pet shops or from online and newspaper adverts without seeing the pup first. There is nothing wrong with sourcing a puppy online, so long as adverts on the website comply with the Pet Advertising Advisory Group’s minimum standards for advertising pets, but you must then meet the breeder and the pup and ensure they are doing the right things.
“Unless people insist on seeing mum and the home environment, unsuspecting buyers will continue to buy puppies that will end up with health and behavioural problems that will cost them dearly – both financially and emotionally. It is quite likely the pups they are buying will have been brought into the country illegally or raised on puppy farms in the UK.
“We urge people to buy from a KC Assured Breeder, where they can be sure the breeder and their premises have been inspected by the KC and found to be complying with our rules for responsible dog breeding.”