Warnings issued as growing popularity of 'dangerous' 'click and collect' online puppy sales in Wales

200921 Dalmatian puppy, The Kennel Club
More than 1/4 of new owners bought their puppy virtually during the pandemic. Credit: The Kennel Club

A dog charity has warned against the dangers of buying puppies over the internet, after research showed more than 80% of pet owners said they would do it again.

At the height of coronavirus restrictions, virtual meetings were the only option for buying a new pet - with a large majority of dog owners now saying they would use the "click and collect" method again.

It meant more than one in four new owners bought their puppy without seeing its breeding environment or mother and often having their new dog delivered straight to their door.

The Kennel Club has called the recent findings "dangerous" and said the bad habits have reversed years of campaigning to change how puppies are bought.

It warned the habits allow scammers, rogue breeders and "cruel puppy traders" to "cash in" due to the lack of face-to-face meetings.

The research comes after recent law changes around pet buying in Wales, which states it is now illegal to sell puppies and kittens unless the sellers have bred the animals themselves on their own premises. The mother must also be present.

The new law has been introduced to help improve animal welfare in Wales.

Despite this, more than a quarter of people said they it is "easier" to meet a puppy virtually rather than in person before purchasing.

The same number of new owners also admit avoiding general pet admin such as vet registration and encouraging their puppy to socialise with other dogs.

Chief Executive of The Kennel Club, Mark Beazley, said, "These bad habits must be reversed".

Animal welfare organisations are worried about the consequences of these new puppy buying habits. Credit: The Kennel Club

He added, "Whilst the message about always seeing a puppy with its mum, in its home environment, seemed to have finally got through and was reinforced in new laws this year, this research shows the pandemic’s alarming impact on the way people expect to buy a puppy".

"Many now seeing virtual puppy buying, ‘click and collect’ or pup deliveries as the norm - taking us backwards in terms of dog welfare and responsible puppy buying."

In line with the new laws, Mark Beazley is urging potential owners to be "puppywise" and to "see the puppy interacting with its mum, in its home environment in real life" before going ahead.

The new method makes it easier for breeders to hide awful breeding conditions, with dog experts warning these bad habits will have a damaging long-term effect.

Animal welfare organisation are worried about the impact of the surge in 'pandemic puppies', with 21% of Welsh owners spending less than two hours researching for their new puppy.