Do you own one of the 13 million dogs who call the UK home? For many, this new four-legged friend might have started its life as an online ad.
Sadly, millions of puppies advertised online in classified ad sites such as Pets4Homes, Gumtree and Facebook, are imported from Europe and are often bred and transported in heartless conditions. And with just the click of a button, they could be yours.
At FOUR PAWS we always advocate adopting a new pet, but we appreciate that this isn’t always possible for every family. For many, the internet offers an easy option, but finding a cute puppy, and being able to buy it so quick, may sadly result in a sick puppy.
We want to help every family avoid the risks of the illegal puppy trade. So from ensuring you’re asking the right questions when looking for your new four-legged friend, to puppy-proofing your new home, we have you covered in our helpful guide.
Think beyond the first few weeks
It’s easy just to get lost in the first few weeks of looking after your dog, but your new best friend can live up to 15 years old, so it’s just as important to make sure you think about the long-term commitment that adding a dog to your family represents too. This once-small addition could soon be bigger than you expected, so ensure you’re ready for the responsibility that this new friend comes with.
Over a third of households in the UK have a dog. Many only joined their new families in the last few years, particularly during the pandemic ‘lockdowns’. With this surge in demand came a peak in the number of puppies being advertised online. By April 2021 there had been a 185% increase in the number of ads compared to the year before. Sadly this increase in demand encouraged even more illegal breeders.
Quick, quick, click
The untold suffering these puppies endure can potentially have long-term effects for the puppy and family and can cause extensive emotional and financial suffering too. Avoiding the warning signs of illegal breeders is just another of the areas covered in the must-see guide for any new potential pet owner.
Emily Wilson, FOUR PAWS UK Head of Campaigns says: “Whilst FOUR PAWS advocates an #adoptdontshop approach to pet ownership, we understand that some people struggle to find the right pet for them. However you get your new pet, we want to ensure people have all the information they need to ensure they don’t fall victim to callous breeders and traders.”
Now is a particularly uncertain time for those with pets. Like many families, FOUR PAWS is concerned about the impacts the cost-of-living crisis is having. Rescue centres have already reported a surge in calls from families unable to continue caring for their four-legged friend and as this uncertain period continues it is important that anyone considering adding a new dog to their family ensures they are able to care for them, for life. Food, vaccinations, insurance – all these costs can mount up. Please think before you click and get all the advice you can before bringing an animal into your lives.
Sign up to www.four-paws.org.uk/buy-a-puppy-responsibly to get your free copy of our guide that will help prepare you for your new puppy and ensure you are a responsible pet owner from day one.