Shocking statistics show over 31% of puppies bought online become ill or die in the first year

03 Sep 2018       By admin

From 3rdto 9th September, the Kennel Club’s Puppy Awareness week is in full swing. Recent research for this event has shown that a third of buyers that bought their puppies from online adverts, faced emotional distress and financial difficulties as their puppy became ill or sadly died, all in the first year since purchase.

From this number, 13% of owners said their puppy became ill in its first year but went on to recover, but 18% said their puppy became so ill, they developed heath related issue that would affect them for the rest of their life, or their illness led to the death of the puppy.

Shockingly, a quarter of all the puppies bought online did not live longer than 5 years old.  Cocker Spaniel advert 1


Worrying statistics


Out of all the puppies that became ill, the most common complaints were kennel cough, gastro-intestinal problems, skin conditions, pneumonia and parvovirus. The veterinary treatment these illnesses require, meant that 28% of owners claimed to have faced financial difficulties in paying for treatment.

Despite various animal welfare groups and dog charities spending time, money and effort trying to educate the public on how to go about purchasing a puppy and what steps they must do to ensure their pup is bought from a reputable, genuine breeder, the figures shown in the Kennel Club’s research are very worrying.

Around 12% of buyers, which equates to around 1 million people, admitted to purchasing their puppy before even viewing them. From this number, around 630,000 buyers had their puppy delivered to their home without ever viewing the puppy, it’s mother or its environment.

Out of the buyers that did see their puppy before purchasing it, 31% said they did not view the puppy in its breeding environment and 20% didn’t view the puppy with its mum. Around 23% of the people asked, admitted they suspect they may have purchased their dog from a puppy farm and around a third of all buyers questioned, said they did less than 2 hours research before purchasing a puppy.


Why we need to change these statistics


There’s no doubt the internet is a useful tool in so many ways and we’ve come to rely on it for making purchases of all kinds. But the internet is making impulse purchases easier than ever, which is something that should never happen with a pet. Correct and thorough research is essential and sadly, puppy farmers and unethical breeders are exploiting the sale of puppies online with terrible consequences for both puppies and owners.

A breeding mum from a puppy farm. Image by RSPCA

Puppies bred in puppy farms, mass breeding facilities and by unethical breeders are far more likely to become seriously ill or die. The mothers used for breeding are kept in atrocious conditions and are abused over and over until they’re no longer of any use. This trade is cruel and should have no place in a society where dogs are mans’ best friend.

Sadly, the internet is one of the best resources for puppy farmed dogs to be sold, which is why so much more needs to be done to raise awareness and ensure potential buyers do everything possible to ensure they’re buying from a reputable breeder.


Buyers’ responsibility


The figures from this research, when put into actual numbers of puppies, run into hundreds of thousands of puppies. This is why it is so essential that buyers research thoroughly; view a puppy before purchasing, view the puppy in its breeding environment and most importantly, view the puppy with its mother.

Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko said:

“A shocking number of people are spending less than two hours researching their puppy purchase and this is leading to a serious welfare crisis. The internet is making it easier than ever before to buy things instantly and this is having an alarming impact on the way people expect to buy a puppy.  

‘While there is nothing wrong with seeing an advert for a puppy online, you should always then be looking to see the puppy’s home environment and the puppy with its mum. If a breeder is offering to deliver the pup to your house, asking to take money from you before you’ve even seen the pup, or trying to flog the puppy as quickly as possible, alarm bells should be ringing.

‘Buying a puppy is meant to be a happy experience so it is extremely sad that so many people are experiencing emotional and financial hardship as a result. The Government’s plans to ban the third-party sale of puppies through pet shops and the like, is hugely welcome, but puppy buyers shouldn’t become complacent.”


Lucy’s Law


The arrival of Lucy’s Law which will ban the third-party sale of puppies will greatly help reduce the number of puppy farms and unethically bred dogs. Buyers will only be able to purchase a puppy from the breeder and the recommendations to be introduced with the law, include viewing the puppy with its mum and in its breeding environment.

While seeing an advert online isn’t a problem, it is what happens once you contract the seller that is of vital importance. We all have a responsibility to ensure we’re buying a puppy that hasn’t been subjected to appalling breeding conditions by profit driven sellers. It’s proven time and time again that dogs bred in this way are far more likely to become seriously ill and die. Buying puppies online, without viewing, checking and researching correctly, could mean emotional and financial hardship for you, a very poorly puppy and lining the pockets of unethical breeders.

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