One in five puppies brought from pet shops contract a potentially deadly disease within six months, according to new research from the Kennel Club (KC).

The research was conducted by the KC for its annual Puppy Awareness Week (September 1-7) and revealed that puppies brought from pet shops are four times more likely to contract parvovirus, which can cost thousands of pounds to treat.

According to the KC, the true cost of owning a puppy is soaring, as more and more people are getting puppies from pet shops, the Internet and free newspapers ads – all outlets often used by puppy farmers.

The KC and other animal welfare organisations are campaigning to end the sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops.

This comes as the Pup Aid campaign has secured a debate in parliament on September 4 about banning the sale of puppies and kittens in pet shops, where the animal’s mother is not present, after the second largest animal welfare petition received 110,000 signatures.

A KC survey showed 16% of people say they have bought a puppy from a pet shop, amounting to almost 1.5 million puppies.

Others buy directly from the Internet (3%) or free newspaper ads (5%), with no contact with the breeder or puppy before buying – resulting in almost one in four buying from outlets commonly used by puppy farmers.

Marc Abraham, KC veterinary advisor and founder of the Pup Aid campaign, said: “Parvovirus is a horrible disease that is frequently contracted by pups from puppy farms because of the filthy conditions they are kept in.

“It is no surprise so many pet shop pups are contracting this disease, as they frequently come from puppy farms.

“Puppy farmers will not want you to see the puppy’s mum, which will probably be unhealthy and overbred, or see the pup’s home environment, and will go to great lengths to keep you away.

“I developed the Pup Aid campaign and support the KC’s Puppy Awareness Week because it is crucial we stop this unnecessary suffering.”

The cost of buying a puppy from a disreputable source is hitting people in the pocket, with one in five people surveyed by the KC saying they spent a lot more on vets’ fees than they anticipated when first buying a dog.

A Kennel Club YouTube film showing the dos and don’ts of buying a puppy can be found at

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