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Puppies becoming unaffordable in the UK as demand soars during lockdown

The cost of buying a dog has soared in the UK as the number of people wanting four-legged companions to keep them company during lockdown skyrocketed.

By Zoë Monk

Published on the 28/09/2020, 21:00

The number of people adopting a dog has almost doubled since the same period last year, according to new figures from the Pets4Homes website. But this rise in demand has also seen a surge in puppy prices.

The average price for dogs is an astonishing 104% higher compared to the same period last year, with the cost of buying a dog reaching almost £1,900 on average.

Inflated puppy prices

The price goes up even more for certain breeds, while puppies often sell for more than £3,000. Cocker Spaniels, Jack Russell Terriers, Cockapoos, Labs and Cavapoos are now as much as 174% more expensive.

Demand for pets saw a significant rise after lockdown began towards the end of March, which saw breeders promptly put up their prices. But animal welfare charities are warning potential dog owners that these high prices could lead to puppy farming, smuggling and even dog theft. As buyers compete for the same puppy, many have been sending money before they've even seen the dog, leaving them vulnerable to scammers.

There is also concern that as lockdown continues to ease and people return to work, these dogs will be left alone.

Avoid being 'dogfished'

Some dogs advertised for sale are not what they seem, which the Dogs Trust is referring to as 'dogfishing'. To avoid being a victim of dogfishing, the Dogs Trust recommends:

  • Always see the puppy and their mother together at their home before you pay a deposit. Make sure you visit more than once, even if you have to do it via a video call.
  • Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions and ask to see all the vital paperwork such as the puppy contract which gives background information about the parents, health, breed and diet.
  • If you have any doubts walk away and report the seller to Trading Standards.

Time will tell whether the cost of buying a dog returns to pre-lockdown prices.

Make your next dog a rescue dog! Find out everything you need to know about getting a dog from a shelter.