Dog charities are warning animal lovers not to rush into adopting a pet following a steep rise in puppy prices amid the pandemic.
Lockdown saw a surge in Britons seeking canine companions across the country, with searches for ‘buy a puppy’ up by 166 per cent.
As a result, the cost of puppies of popular breeds rocketed – up 50 to 90 per cent since March – with one French Bulldog puppy advertised for £11,000 and popular breeds going for around £5,000 online.
Extortionate prices have seen a growing number of pet lovers turn to rescue animals. Dogs Trust reported they received thousands of requests for their rescue pups, including over 1,000 requests to re-home a single hound.
But charities are growing increasingly wary that some people are taking the decision to re-home an animal too lightly, especially if they are currently working from home but will at some point return to the office – and could even fall victim to nefarious smugglers in their rush to adopt.
Charities are worried that people are buying and adopting puppies without being aware of the commitment they’re making – after lockdown saw a rise in both puppy sales and rescue adoption. An English Bulldog puppy priced atr £4,500 on Pets4Homes
Rare breeds are even more expensive than they used to be. This rare chocolate French bulldog is going for £11,000 on Pets4Homes. Price before: £2,000
A representative for Dogs Trust told Femail: ‘Since lockdown began, we have been inundated with requests from the dog-loving public to rehome our rescue hounds.
‘Just before lockdown began our contact centre recorded the busiest weekend on record and in some cases, we have received over 1,000 requests to rehome a single dog.’
But do dog lovers fully understand what they’re committing to? Charities are worried some people are forgetting that they won’t be working from home for ever.
Alyson Jones, Head of Rehoming Services at national pet charity Blue Cross, said: ‘We’ve seen a huge increase in people looking to rehome a dog from Blue Cross.
A surge in puppy demand saw prices for popular breeds skyrocket since March. But charities are worried about a puppy abandonment crisis when people have to go back to the office. Left: a miniature dachshund puppy on sale for £3,000. Price before: £973
A Cavapoo puppy was priced at £4,000. Before lockdown, the popular breed, cousin of theCockapoo, would have sold for £1,000
Some popular dog breeds saw an increase of up to 779.3 percent increase in prices since March
‘In May we saw applications for each dog on our website leap by 515 per cent year on year, and demand has stayed strong since then.
‘We know how much companionship a pet can provide and we’ve been carrying out our normal checks and will always choose the owner who best matches the animal’s needs.
‘However we fear many may rush and buy online with little research and may fall victim to unscrupulous sellers who are cashing in on the demand with soaring prices.
‘We’re concerned some people may not consider the commitment they are making, but also that many dogs will struggle to cope when their owners return to the office, resulting in them being given up to rescue centres or worse still, abandoned.
‘We know circumstances can change so quickly with the current economic climate, and Blue Cross is always here to help struggling owners. But we’d urge anyone looking to take on a pet to give serious thought to the responsibility and costs that come with owning an animal.’
Dr Samantha Gaines, RSPCA dog welfare expert, shares the same concerns.
‘We’ve seen a huge spike in the number of people inquiring about rescue dogs,’ she said.
Dainty dogs, which suit smaller dwellings such as flats, are in high demand. Pictured: a puppy Maltese costing £5,000
‘During the four months from the beginning of lockdown, the RSPCA’s Find A Pet section of the website had 3,843,089 unique views compared to 1,768,131 in the same period the previous year – a rise of 117 per cent.
‘And our fostering pages saw a 430 per cent increase in visits over the same time period.’
Dr Gaines added the RSPCA centres were ‘inundated’ with applications to offer homes to dogs, which she said is ‘absolutely wonderful’.
However, she added, ‘we are also concerned that some families may not be considering the long-term commitment of taking on a dog and how they will take care of their new pet post-lockdown when they return to work and normality.
‘The RSPCA fears a dog welfare crisis and more pressure on charities and rescue centres when people realise they don’t have the time or finances to take care of their lockdown puppy.
‘We don’t want people to be put off of getting a dog, but simply want them to ensure they’re fully aware of the responsibility before taking one on. And we’d like them to consider adopting a dog instead of buying one.’
A Pomeranian puppy barely bigger than this apple is going for £4,000 on Gumtree. Charities are warning people about online scams and puppy smuggling rings
Prices for popular breeds have skyrocketed since March, Dogs Trust researchers found.
The Dogs Trust says buyers are being charged ‘extortionate’ record prices – its researchers found some English bulldogs on sale for £9,000.
Looking on popular websites such as Pets4Homes and Gumtree, puppies that were worth less than £1,000 in March are now being sold for £3,000 on average.
The price of Chow Chows have gone up by 67 per cent from £1,119 in March to £1,872 in June.
Popular breeds like Daschshunds also cost 89 per cent more than they did in March, with the median price going from £973 to £3,000.
Elsewhere, sellers on site Pets4Homes are listing British Bulldogs, formerly selling for up to £4,000, for as much as £9,500, while £2,000 French Bulldogs are going for over £5,000.
Femail found one French Bulldog being sold for £11,000 due to its rare ‘Isabella’ gene, which carries a specific colour.
Cavapoos, a cousin of the Cockapoo and an equally popular breed, are being sold with prices between £2,000 to ££5,000.
Pomeranians pups, which would have gone for £1,900 in March, are now being advertised for up to £4,000.
An Maltese that could be purchased for as little as £750 at the start of lockdown are now reaching £5,000 asking prices.
|South East||2,082 per cent|
|South West||1,700 per cent|
|North East||1,660 per cent|
|Midlands||1,606 per cent|
|London||1,606 per cent|
|East of England||1,355 per cent|
|North West||1,257 per cent|
|Scotland||1,080 per cent|
|Yorkshire||1,043 per cent|
|Northern Ireland||1,000 per cent|
|Wales||929 per cent|
The high demand for puppies is also driving business for illegal dog smugglers, who are cashing in on the rise in prices.
Dogs Trust have warned people yearning for a puppy to be wary of illegal smugglers bringing dogs from puppy farms into the ULK.
Between the start of lockdown (23rd March) and the end of September, the charity has rescued 140 puppies that were illegally imported into the country from Central and Eastern Europe.
Dogs Trust’s Veterinary Director Paula Boyden said: ‘Sadly, we continue to see more and more heart-breaking examples of puppies being illegally imported into the country.
‘Puppy smugglers are making vast profits by exploiting innocent puppies, breeding and transporting them in appalling conditions to sell onto unsuspecting dog lovers.
‘Unfortunately, it is all too easy to be hoodwinked by these deceitful traders. That is why it is so important to do your research before buying a dog so you can do everything you can to buy your puppy responsibly,’ she added.
Paula called forth government to put in place stricter laws against puppy smuggling.
‘Enough is enough, Government must take immediate action as too many puppies are suffering at the hands of cruel traders and too many dog lovers are being left to pick up the pieces. Every day of delay leads to preventable suffering for these poor puppies,’ she said.
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