During Coronavirus many dog owners have been grateful for having their partner in crime during lockdown, not only for company, but also for the ability to go out for daily exercise
Unsurprisingly perhaps then that during lockdown, many turned to searching for a four-legged companion, with demand for puppies rising sharply, creating a window of opportunity for rogue breeders and puppy scammers.
A recent survey by the Kennel Club found that nearly a third of UK puppy buyers admit they could have bought from a puppy farm after not doing enough research and in the North West, more than 30 per cent of puppy buyers admitted they wouldn’t know how to spot a rogue breeder.
Due to the rising ‘pandemic puppy’ demand and the worrying gap in consumer knowledge when buying a new four-legged friend, the Kennel Club has launched its #BePuppyWise campaign – offering advice on how to best research, source and care for a puppy responsibly, while increasing public awareness of the horrific puppy farm trade.
Dogs bring endless benefits, from teaching children about responsibility to boosting emotional and physical wellbeing. While all puppies are adorable, they also require time and dedication and owners need to understand that dog will rely on them for all their needs, from exercise, to training and health.
The Kennel Club recommends that prospective puppy owners ask themselves whether they are ready for a long-term commitment.
• Do you have enough time to give the dog the exercise it needs?
• Can you afford the costs of owning a dog on a long-term basis?
• Are you ready to be responsible for the dog’s behaviour and training?
With over 220 breeds, with varying exercise, training and grooming needs, research is vital to find your perfect match. If you’re active and spend time outdoors, perhaps a breed with a lot of energy is the right choice. On the other hand, if you live in a city apartment, you might want to consider smaller breeds which require a moderate amount of exercise and living space.
The puppy’s breeder is responsible for giving your new family member the best start in life. A good breeder will be able to answer any questions you have, and you should expect to be asked lots of questions too. Ensure you see the puppy with its mum in its home environment more than once, and that you’re provided with paperwork, including relevant health test results for the puppy’s parents, a contract of sale and details about vaccinations and microchip details.
Of puppy buyers in the north west:
• 32% didn’t see the family home where the dog was bred
• 37% spent more than they expected on veterinary bills
• 19% think their puppy could originate from a puppy farm
• 32% wouldn’t know how to spot signs of a rogue breeder
• 19% said they spent less than an hour researching their dog
• 39% didn’t see the puppy interacting with its mum
• 75% didn’t receive relevant health test certificates for the puppy’s parents
• 77% weren’t asked any questions by the breeder about suitability for dog ownership.
*Figures based on survey of 2,256 dog owners carried out for the Kennel Club by Census wide, in August 2019