Over a third of puppy owners (34%) fail to do any research before buying their dog, according to Dog Trust’s ‘Choosing My Dog’ study.
The charity’s findings suggest that dog owners are vulnerable to being scammed by smugglers, who are illegally importing puppies into the country under dire conditions.
Dogs Trust said immediate action is needed from the government to stop this trade as current legislation is “not fit for purpose”.
A quarter of the 2,908 owners surveyed said they only met their puppy the day them home, not beforehand, which the charity does not recommend.
Paula Boyden, Dogs Trust’s Veterinary director, said: “Sadly, we continue to see more and more heart-breaking examples of puppies being illegally imported into the country. Puppy smugglers are making vast profits by exploiting innocent puppies, breeding and transporting them in appalling conditions to sell onto unsuspecting dog lovers.
“Unfortunately, it is all too easy to be hoodwinked by these deceitful traders. That is why it is so important to do your research before buying a dog so you can do everything you can to buy your puppy responsibly.”
She added: “There has never been a more urgent need to end the appalling puppy smuggling trade.
“Enough is enough, Government must take immediate action as too many puppies are suffering at the hands of cruel traders and too many dog lovers are being left to pick up the pieces. Every day of delay leads to preventable suffering for these poor puppies.”