Where and how to buy a dog responsibly
If there is one good thing to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it must be the increase in dogs finding loving homes.
Whether you started working from home, became a substitute teacher for your children or were furloughed and in the need of some company, dogs have been the favourite choice of companion. This is no surprise as stroking, cuddling and walking your dog is known to boost your mood and encourage routine, which is something many of us have struggled with during this time.
With more people than ever wanting to own a dog and the irresistible draw of cute puppies, there has been a huge increase in demand. Between March and May last year there was a reported increase of 168% in searches for ‘puppies for sale’ and a 59% increase in adverts selling puppies on sites like Gumtree and Pets4homes. This increase in demand has led to an increase in prices for puppies and dogs across the country. In September 2019 the average price of a puppy in the UK was £888. Less than a year later the average price had jumped to £1,883.
Concerns about puppy farms and stolen dogs add to the already difficult decision-making process of choosing a dog. Here at BorrowMyDoggy, we want to help guide you through some of the options and help you experience the joy of dog ownership responsibly.
Gumtree & classified advert sites
Online sites such as Gumtree provide a wide variety of choice in the search for puppies. A quick search on the site for ‘puppies’ in England brings up over 1200 adverts with everything from French Bulldogs to Cane Corsos and Old English Sheepdogs to Labradors.
Many are listed as ‘ready to go’, meaning if you find your dream pup, you could have it home within a matter of weeks. This is an exciting and potentially quick option to fulfill your requirements. However, it is vital that you do your research first and remember a few things if you decide to buy from a breeder on these sites to ensure you get a healthy, happy pup.
Gumtree provides accreditation for breeders which helps to narrow down the choices.
They also provide some guidelines for purchasing dogs on their site which are useful to know, even when dealing with an accredited breeder.
- Puppies should be at least eight weeks old but it is better if they are twelve weeks before you take them home.
- Home visits are important, try and visit at least twice. Meet the mum and if possible, other littermates. Home visits also allow you to get to know your puppy and their personality before taking them home.
- Ask the breeder lots of questions - did they breed the puppy or did someone else? Did either of the parents or any of the puppies have health problems?
- Always ask to see their medical records. Have they had worming and flea treatment and all their vaccinations?
- If you are buying a pedigree, make sure you see the Kennel Club registration papers and parents’ hereditary disease screening certificates where applicable.
- Finally, trust your instinct. If something doesn’t seem right, walk away. You can also report them to Gumtree or the RSPCA.
It is also worth noting that puppies must be above 15 weeks old to obtain a pet passport. If they are under 15 weeks and are advertised with one, walk away. It is likely that they have been illegally brought to the country and this is when the risk of puppy farms becomes far more likely. If they were born in the UK, they won’t come with a pet passport.
Kennel Club Certified Breeders
Although Gumtree do have some accredited breeders, they also recommend checking the acreditations on Kennel Club as a precaution.
You can go straight to the Kennel Club website to browse certified breeders. They provide a list of assured breeders with the aim to ‘promote good dog breeding practices and help puppy owners find responsible breeders’. These breeders have met certain standards and acquired a certificate to prove it.
Bear in mind, you should still follow the steps listed above as they are relevant no matter where you find a breeder.
Just as breeders are seeing an increase in demand, adoption centres are seeing longer waiting lists to match dogs to their forever homes. If you aren’t in a rush and are interested in getting to know a dog's personality before committing, adoption may be for you.
Adoption websites and rehoming centres provide lots of useful information about their dogs. You can filter dogs by whether they are good with children or cats, their age, size and breed.
Rescue centres will have assessed the animals to determine whether they need a quiet home, more exercise or continued training which can allow them to match you to a dog that suits your knowledge and ability as well as your wants and needs.
Currently, the adoption fee at the Dogs Trust is £240 for puppies and £185 for an adult dog. For puppies under 6 months old, they also require the completion of a dog school for a cost of £55.
These charities also offer a lifetime of support. So if you ever have questions or concerns, you will always have the ability to turn to them for advice.
Borrow a dog
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the choices and you just want more time to decide, how about borrowing a dog?
BorrowMyDoggy gives you the opportunity to walk a dog, look after them for a day, or longer like holidays, without the commitment of ownership! It may even be a better solution for your current circumstances than buying or adopting a dog.
BorrowMyDoggy is all about building a long-lasting friendship between dog owners and their borrowers whilst creating a mutually beneficial arrangement. It could be a great way to introduce your kids to a dog and teach them how to care for them. Learning about the routine, feeding and grooming your favourite breed could help in your decision making process.
Once you have your own pooch, you could even create them a profile and find borrowers or other dogs to socialise them with!
We offer a 24 hour vet line and third party and liability insurance to all out premium members. So you can rest assured that the dog you spent so much time researching, will be cared for and protected.
If you have any questions about what you have read or want to learn more, the following resources are great to further your reading: