One in three people do less than two hours’ research when buying a puppy, a new poll has found.
The poll of dog owners found that 12% of people – the equivalent of roughly a million dogs – pay for their puppy before they’ve even seen it.
The results also revealed that nearly a third of puppies bought online die or fall ill within their first year, leading to warnings by the Kennel Club that puppies are being put at risk by a culture of “instant gratification”.
The charity’s survey of 2,176 dog owners comes after the Government announced plans last month to ban the sale of puppies and kittens by pet shops and other commercial dealers.
The poll found that 18% of people who bought their pet directly over the internet after finding an advert online said their dog had been sick before its first birthday, with the illness continuing throughout its life or until its death.
A further 13% said their puppy had fallen ill in the first 12 months but went on to recover.
An estimated 630,000 puppies among a dog population of nine million were ordered online and delivered directly to people’s homes.
Caroline Kisko, secretary of the Kennel Club, said: “The internet is making it easier than ever before to buy things instantly, and this is having an alarming impact on the way people expect to buy a puppy.”
She said: “A shocking number of people are spending less than two hours researching their puppy purchase and this is leading to a serious welfare crisis.
“Rogue dog breeders selling directly to puppy buyers can be masking terrible conditions and the yawning gap in puppy buyer awareness about how to identify a good breeder leaves people – and dogs – very vulnerable.”
Last month, the Government announced plans to help reduce serious health problems and socialisation issues which afflict pets kept in poor conditions by unscrupulous breeders.
Anyone buying or adopting a pet less than six months old will have to deal directly with the breeder or a rescue centre under the proposed ban.