One in five puppies bought online or through social media die before they are six months old, according to new research commissioned to highlight Puppy Awareness Week.

Research by The Kennel Club (KC) has shown one in five puppies bought online or through social media die before they are six months old.

Research to support the KC’s Puppy Awareness Week, which takes place from September 7 to September 14, shows as many as one in three people may have bought from a puppy farm after sourcing their puppy from the internet, social media, pet shops or newspaper ads – all outlets that are often used by puppy farmers.

This has increased from one in five last year.

The research also found that:

  • One third of people who bought their puppy online, over social media or in pet shops failed to experience “overall good health“.
  • Almost one in five puppies bought via social media or the internet die before they reach six months.
  • 12% of puppies bought online or on social media end up with serious health problems that require expensive ongoing veterinary treatment from a young age.
  • 94% of puppies bought direct from a breeder were reported as having good overall health.

There is currently little regulation over dog breeders in the UK, so the KC said this led it to establish the KC Assured Breeder Scheme in 2004, which now has UKAS recognition, to ensure its members always followed responsible steps when breeding and selling puppies.

However, the research has revealed too many people are still going to unscrupulous breeders with:

  • One third of people failing to see the puppy with its mum.
  • More than half not seeing the breeding environment.
  • 70% receive no contract of sale.
  • 82% were not offered post-sales advice.
  • 69% did not see any relevant health certificates for the puppy’s parents, which indicate the likely health of the puppy.

KC secretary Caroline Kisko said: “More and more people are buying puppies from sources, such as the internet, which are often used by puppy farmers.

“While there is nothing wrong with initially finding a puppy online, it is essential to then see the breeder and ensure they are doing all of the right things.

“This research clearly shows too many people are failing to do this, and the consequences can be seen in the shocking number of puppies that are becoming sick or dying. We have an extremely serious consumer protection and puppy welfare crisis on our hands.

“We urge people to always buy a puppy from a member of the KC Assured Breeder Scheme, who are the only breeders in the country whose membership is based on their ability to show the health and welfare of their pups comes first and foremost.”

The KC has launched an online video and has a “Find A Puppy” app, to show the dos and don’ts of buying a puppy. View the video at

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