When it comes to buying puppies, poor buying habits and ill-informed decisions are contributing to a welfare crisis, according to new research by The Kennel Club.

With many owners not properly exploring their new pets’ backgrounds prior to purchase, a proportion of puppies turn out to have some form of canine health problem.

Some 37% of puppies sourced from online or newspaper ads were bought as a spur of the moment decision, with the majority of these decisions made solely from the way the animals looked. Nearly half of those purchased online, without being viewed first, have fallen ill, with one in five of these ending up with serious gastro-intestinal problems.

The Kennel Club’s alarming statistics prove that most buyers are not prepared for the medical costs that ensue. Over a third of those who ended up with a sick puppy experienced financial difficulties, with one in five spending between £500 and £1,000 on vet bills within in the first six months.

The Kennel Club highlighted the importance of choosing a puppy from a responsible breeder as part of their Puppy Awareness Week (12-18 September). Their research showed a great deal of new owners did not know where their pet had come from.

Nearly half believed the pup might have come from a puppy farm, where irresponsible breeding could have contributed to costly and emotionally draining issues with their new pet.

“It’s absolutely shocking that people are still buying puppies online or from newspapers without seeing the puppy first,” said Kennel Club secretary, Caroline Kisko. “Not only do puppies end up suffering as a result of being irresponsibly bred and sold, but consumers are being duped into thinking they have a healthy puppy.”

For more information about buying a puppy responsibly and for the Kennel Club’s do’s and don’ts of buying a puppy, visit: www.thekennelclub.org.uk/PAW