Almost half of puppies bought online fall sick, with around 1 in 5 going on to develop serious health problems, according to the results of a new survey.
The survey’s authors also claimed modern puppy-buying habits are placing financial and emotional strain on consumers and could be contributing towards a welfare crisis.
The survey was conducted among 2,000 dog owners for The Kennel Club by Censuswide to mark Puppy Awareness Week (12-18 September).
The results of the survey found:
- Half of puppies (49%) bought online, without being seen first, fall sick, and around 1 in 5 puppies (17%) end up with serious gastrointestinal problems.
- Almost 1 in 5 people (18%) who bought a puppy online or from a newspaper advert are forced to spend between £500 and £1,000 on vet bills in the first six months of the puppy’s life – often more than the original cost of the puppy.
- More than a third of people (37%) who ended up with a sick puppy after buying online or from a newspaper advert experienced financial problems due to treatment costs, and 35% suffered from emotional problems.
- More than a third of puppies (37%) bought online or from a newspaper advert without being seen first were bought as a spur of the moment decision, with almost two-thirds (60%) being bought solely because of the way they looked.
- Buying a puppy from a responsible breeder can cost owners 18% less in unplanned veterinary fees, and puppies are 23% less likely to need to visit the vet.
The Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said: “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.”