A new Kennel Club survey has found that one in five puppies purchased online die before six months old or had poor health which required long term veterinary treatment.The internet acts as an easy method for potential puppy owners to purchase a dog, but is also becoming increasingly popular with puppy farmers. Websites and social media are a free, very accessible method of advertising puppies as well as a place for would-be owners to look.
In particular, the internet is becoming a common place for under 25s to look when purchasing a pet. However, online adverts are also being used to cover up the reality of puppy farms and the poor health of the animals being sold. The puppy farmers often using these sites are more interested in the profit to be made rather than the health and wellbeing of the puppies.
However, there is nothing wrong with finding a puppy online. A few simple things can ensure you are buying from a reputable breeding and the puppy is in good health including visiting the puppy’s home environment and seeing the mother.
The Kennel Club recently carried out a survey which revealed that 72% of those interviewed did not see the home environment of the puppy and 50% did not see the mother of the puppy. To help combat this, the Kennel Club runs a Puppy Awareness week (7th-14th September 2013) which acts to promote good puppy health and educating potential owners in the ways to ensure they are purchasing a healthy puppy from a trustworthy breeder.
Following on from the findings of the Kennel Club survey, the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG), a group of representatives from leading animal welfare groups in the UK, has recently released a set of 18 Minimum Standards by which websites advertising pets must reach. Those websites abiding by the standards will be listed on the PAAG website for owners to refer to and identify reputable sites.
Although the Minimum Standards are not legally enforceable, they have been set to try and improve the welfare of animals sold online and give owners more confidence when purchasing online. Some of the standards include banning adverts for pregnant animals and ensuring no pets are being swapped with other pets or goods, scenarios that have been found previously on advertising websites. The full set of standards can be found at http://paag.org.uk/standards/