One in three vets who treat pets have seen puppies they believe have been illegally imported from overseas in the last year. These figures have been released by UK body for vets, the British Veterinary Association (BVA).\r\n\r\nBVA\u2019s Voice of the Veterinary Profession, which surveyed over 1,000 vets from across the UK, revealed that vets\u2019 suspicions had been raised for several reasons. These included foreign microchips and the puppy\u2019s age not matching the age given in its passports. Some vets also cited the puppy\u2019s health as a problem after seeing cases of parvovirus and kennel cough.\r\n\r\nThe most common breeds suspected by vets to have been illegally imported are those that are in hot demand, made popular by celebrity owners or promoted through merchandise.\r\n\r\nHalf of vets surveyed voiced concerns about illegal imports of French bulldog puppies, with Pugs (29 percent) and Chihuahuas (16 percent) coming in as the second and third most common.\r\nWelfare concerns\r\nVet Gudrun Ravetz, President of the British Veterinary Association, said: \u201cIllegal importers only care about profit, not puppy welfare. As vets, we\u2019ve heard awful stories of people buying puppies only for their puppy to be dead 24 hours later because of the way it was bred and cared for in its early days outside of the UK.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s extremely concerning that we\u2019re seeing so many flat-faced breeds, like French bulldogs, being brought into the country given the serious breathing and health issues that they already suffer from, let alone the added disease risks associated with illegal imports.\u201d\r\n\r\nIllegally imported puppies have often been poorly bred, without the correct vaccinations or health checks needed, which can result in life-threatening but preventable illnesses like parvovirus and giardia. Often owners are not aware of their puppy\u2019s background and buy an unwell puppy that needs extensive veterinary care, or in the worst cases, euthanasia.\r\n\r\nBVA\u2019s findings come at a time when potential owners may be considering getting a puppy for Christmas. BVA President Gudrun Ravetz continued: \u201cA dog should never be bought \u2018for Christmas\u2019 as it is a stressful time of year with lots going on that can unsettle and distress pets.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt might sound silly, but dog ownership begins before you even own a dog! It\u2019s a life-changing commitment and we'd advise anyone thinking about getting a dog to speak to their local vet first and use helpful tools like the online \u2018Puppy Contract\u2019 to make sure they buy a happy, healthy puppy.\u201d\r\n\r\nTo prevent illegal profiteering practices and ensure purchase of a healthy puppy, BVA is advising anyone considering buying a dog to wait until the New Year and use the \u2018Puppy Contract\u2019. The free online guide outlines both the owner and breeder\u2019s responsibilities in buying and selling a puppy as well as simple tips on what to look for such as always seeing a puppy with its mother. More information can be found at puppycontract.rspca.org.uk.