New research from the Kennel Club reveals that a quarter of new owners admitted to impulse buying a puppy during the coronavirus pandemic without prior research.
More than two in five bought a puppy to be their companion during lockdown, yet nearly one in four admit they could have inadvertently bought from a puppy farm, while a fifth didn’t know if a dog would suit their lifestyle after lockdown, citing worries about behaviour, time and costs.
The Kennel Club has now launched a new campaign entitled #BePuppywise, to help provide vital resources and advice, from how to avoid being scammed and buy a puppy responsibly, to training tips.
The research, released by the Kennel Club as part of its latest campaign, shows that 41% of those who bought a puppy said the main reason was companionship, while 38% said it was because they were at home more, and 27% said it was to help them or their family through the “difficult lockdown period”.
Despite this, 27% paid money before actually seeing their puppy, 42% didn’t see the puppy’s breeding environment, in real-life or via video call, while an “overwhelming” 83% weren’t asked any questions about their suitability as owners.
In addition, 25% of new owners spent less than two hours doing research, leaving them “particularly vulnerable to scams and unable to spot the signs of an unscrupulous breeder”.
While one in five new owners who bought a puppy during the pandemic admit they “hadn’t fully considered” the long-term commitment or responsibility of ownership, 15% agree that in hindsight, they weren’t ready to purchase a puppy.
Bill Lambert, head of health and welfare at the Kennel Club, said: “Our dogs are certainly helping us through the pandemic, providing a welcome and happy distraction as Covid-19 causes anxiety, suffering and disruption across the nation.
“However we do have concerns about those puppies which may have been bought on impulse, without owners doing their homework on how or where to get a dog responsibly, or fully realising a puppy is a new family member for life, not a short-term commodity.”
He added: “These hasty decisions not only play into the hands of the opportunistic scammers and puppy farmers operating during the pandemic – but can also sadly result in puppies being rehomed if owners haven’t carefully considered how their dog will fit their ‘normal’ life.
“In the current climate it’s never been more crucial to be puppywise via thorough, extensive research, taking time to find the right dog and breeder, and being aware of the red flags, as well as preparing for your new arrival and being a responsible owner.”