Poll: One in five puppy buyers no longer have their pet two years later

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Statistics from a new survey commissioned by the RSPCA reveal that nearly a quarter of the owners (24 per cent) who bought a pure-bred puppy in the past two years based their decision mainly on appearance, while a massive 56 per cent of buyers did not see the puppy with its mother before they bought it. These are two of the biggest pitfalls the RSPCA’s new Get Puppy Smart campaign warns against.

The survey also reveals that many people buying a puppy do a minimal amount of research. More than 60 per cent of people who bought a puppy in the past two years only visited one litter of puppies before deciding on the one they wanted, while a shocking 40 per cent of those who bought a puppy spent one week or less researching their purchase.

Claire Calder, a senior scientific officer at the RSPCA, said: “Sadly far too many people are living with the consequences of buying a puppy on impulse. A cute puppy can be hard to resist, but the result of not looking beyond the cute-factor can be the tragic death of a much loved pet, hundreds of pounds spent on vet bills or the emotional impact of having to part with a puppy that was simply the wrong choice for your family’s lifestyle.”

The new survey commissioned by the RSPCA suggests the shocking figure that three per cent of puppies bought in the past two years have already died or been put to sleep, and more than a third (36 per cent) had experienced health problems.

One of those to find out the hard way about the consequences of buying from a rogue breeder is 18-year-old Geena Hebbird, from Essex. After being pressured into buying her American Bulldog puppy Missy, Geena and her partner endured a week-long emotional rollercoaster that left them with nothing but heartache and vet bills of nearly £700 before Missy was finally put to sleep less than a week after they bought her. Geena said she was initially thrilled to find a breeder who would deliver a puppy to her because neither she nor her partner drive and so couldn’t visit to see the dog first.

She said: “Looking back, we were foolish to trust the breeder so readily, but we thought he was a genuine person who was happy to help us out. The reality of the situation instantly became clear when I saw Missy for the first time. She looked ill, her fur was matted with dirt and her body was covered in cuts. It was awful to see her in such a terrible condition. I regret now asking the breeder to come to us because once he arrived I felt bullied into buying her.”

After Milly’s first night in her new home, it became clear to Geena how ill her new dog was and she took her straight to the vet. Despite nearly a week of treatment, Missy’s condition deteriorated even further and Geena and her partner made the sad decision to put her to sleep.

“We had been trying to remain positive and were looking forward to having her home again. We never imagined she would die so young, so when the vet called we were in complete shock. I knew putting her down was the right thing to do, but I was upset that I never had the chance to say goodbye. We are still suffering emotionally and financially from our mistake – I don’t think I could risk going through something similar again,” added Geena.

Do your homework to match the right dog with your home, family and lifestyle and that you can afford the long-term costs. Phone ahead before visiting any puppies and know the right questions to ask. Don’t buy a puppy straight away – go home and take time to consider your choice and visit it at least twice. Always choose a puppy based on its likely health and temperament and not just its looks – a healthy puppy is much better than a pretty one. Never be tempted to buy a puppy because you feel sorry for it – another will only be bred to replace it.

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35 thoughts on “Poll: One in five puppy buyers no longer have their pet two years later”

  1. Not me or my husband, we got our pups when they were 8 weeks old and they just turned 8 on January 20th. A puppy is for life!

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  2. I purchased a beautiful French Mastiff, as a 8 week old puppy. I love her so much. On New Year’s Eve day, 2009, I discovered a lump in her throat. I took her that same day to her vet. When he called me, he told me that she was full of cancer. I couldn’t stop crying. Then he said, he gave her 3 months tops. Well on Feb.16, I had to take her and have her put to sleep. I am still crying, and it is almost 1 year now. She was 3 years old. I bought her at Pet Land, in Frisco, Texas. I hate that place, and the owner, they sold me a sick baby, that I love so much, and now she is gone. Because she was nearly 4, on Feb. 27, he wouldn’t do a thing. It cost me 700.00 to have her cremated and and put n the box. I have her next to me, on my night stand, and cry all of the time. She is so missed, and so loved. I tried to feed her only the best, but she is gone now, and I have the biggest hole in my heart. Just 3 1/2 years old, and at her best, she weighed 145 pounds. I love and miss my “Abbygale”, she was so gorgeous, such a big baby, and a momma’s girl.

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    • Linda, your post touched my heart and I am so sorry for your loss. I know it hurts deeply to lose a dog that is so much a part of our lives.

      I hope your hurt eventually eases and that in time you are able to open up your heart to another wonderful canine because people who love their canine companions with so much commitment are those that truly provide the best homes for dogs and are meant to always have a dog in their life!

      This does not mean you should ever forget your very much loved Abbygale so keep her close to your heart. But, know that we have to make room for another special dog because sadly, their lives (even living full and healthy ones) are way too short to match our longevity. It is my belief, a life without a dog, is a life without laughter, unconditional love and reciprocating joy not to be compared with any other. Just my personal thoughts, hope this helps…..

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  3. Its very sad- people need to do research, SOME breeders need to be more responsible and puppy mills need to be stopped!!! if you read the whole story one couple went to a breeder and the dog had to be put down with in a month, sad very sad, Reasearch people,, Don’t buy pups as gifts! Thats a big red flag when I see it on a app for the rescue I work with.

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  4. Sadly, those in rescue and shelters are all shaking their heads that people don’t already realize these statistics. I will give the “Christmas puppies” until March before they begin to be seen in shelters because the owner didn’t know: it will grow like a weed, it will need food and vet care, it didn’t come already trained not to jump or chew the best shoes, or just because “the kids are bored with it.”

    Maybe earlier this year, since they probably won’t be taken out in all this snow and ice, so they will make the terrible error of peeing on the carpet.

    I have a rescue and a ‘foreclosure’ dog and my next dog will be a senior from a shelter.

    Education is so needed – but hey – Cesar and Victoria can tell them all they need to know in a fast 30 minutes, right?

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  5. Very sad, and I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t realize the percentage is this high. I, too, agree that education and using some hindsight is so important. I think that too many people, unknowingly, get caught up in “puppy love,” at first sight.

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  6. Yay! A good outcome after a really crappy start. You are SO RIGHT in the “less selfish, more research” part of your comment. My first Dalmatian was a “rescue” from a well-meaning but uninformed family. I got her at 5 months old and had her until 13 1/2. Have had four Dalmatians total over the last 27 years.. Lost my boy last December and have my one girl left now. Just rescued a terrier mix from a local shelter. Found as stray heartworm positive. Adoption is a really good thing. Also SPAY AND NEUTER!

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