Published: 12:56, 21 September 2021
| Updated: 16:04, 21 September 2021
The pandemic trend for 'click and collect' puppy buying must be stopped insists The Kennel Club, which says lockdown habbits are at risk of reversing years of work done to change damaging puppy buying habits in the UK.
Buying pets over the internet and social media could be an 'alarming legacy' of the last 18 months says the organisation, where buying animals virtually is at risk of becoming seen as the norm.
The coronavirus pandemic and the first lockdown lead to an exponential rise in the number of households trying to purchase a pet, in particular puppies and kittens, as families lifestyles and working patterns changed and adults were at home considerably more.
But The Kennel Club, which works to promote dog health, welfare and training, says its latest research suggests that many feel it is easier to now meet a puppy virtually rather than in person as before - leaving lots of pets at risk of being bought and sold without the proper checks.
With animals continuing to be in high demand, and the price of puppies and kittens still on the rise, new owners are also often finding themselves being pushed further afield in their search for a new pet which also encourages a tendency to rely on the internet to finalise the sale rather than regular visit in person.
Among the best practice advice offered to those looking to buy a puppy is to go and see the dogs you're interested in where possible more than once, along with their mum and breeder all in their own environment, while also speaking to the existing owner about crucial admin such as insurance, vet checks and up-to-date treatment and official registering.
Alongside potential owners being able to be sure of the health and condition of the animal they're buying, it is thought that a reliance on buying through the internet also enables more potential scammers and rogue breeders to disguise poor breeding conditions and dupe owners out of large sums of money which The Kennel Club says would be a 'backward step' in dog welfare.
“It’s understandable that many of us may have developed some fairly harmless bad habits during multiple lockdowns, such as ordering one too many takeaways, getting up late or having multiple deliveries to our doors,” said Mark Beazley, Chief Executive of The Kennel Club. “But when it comes to puppy buying, these bad habits must be reversed."
“Whilst the message about always seeing a puppy with its mum, in its home environment, seemed to have finally got through and was reinforced in new laws in 2020, this research shows the pandemic’s alarming impact on the way people expect to buy a puppy, with many now seeing virtual puppy buying, ‘click and collect’ or pup deliveries as the norm - taking us backwards in terms of dog welfare and responsible puppy buying."
He added: “Of course there is nothing wrong with seeing an advert for a puppy online, but we’re urging potential owners to ‘be puppywise’ and always then see the puppy interacting with its mum, in its home environment in real life, as lockdown restrictions are no longer in place.
"If a breeder is offering to deliver the pup to your house or asking to take money from you before you’ve even seen the pup, alarm bells should be ringing. Scammers, rogue breeders and cruel puppy traders can, and will, cash in on this dangerous virtual puppy buying world, with devastating consequences for dogs.”
Anyone considering purchasing a new pet in the near future is advised to do their research and be aware of the potential for scams, avoid relying on internet chatter or social media for finding a new furry friend but always instead stick to reputable sources for advertising puppies and make sure any potential return to the workplace or office for adults in the house, now that restrictions have eased, continues to be considered.
More information about the process of buying a new dog including advice, tips, checklists and downloadable resources for owners and potential owners can be found at thekennelclub.org.uk/be-puppywise.