Pandemic Puppies survey Photo by Chris Leipelt on Unsplash

The ‘Pandemic Puppies’ study to explore how COVID-19 lockdown affected puppy buying in the UK

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is calling for puppy owners for its survey on puppy buying experiences before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey is targeting UK-based dog owners who have acquired a puppy since January 2019. The ‘Pandemic Puppies’ study will compare how and why puppies were bought before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is to help build an understanding of the changes in buying behaviours and intentions over this period.

Dr Rowena Packer, lecturer in Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare Science at the RVC and lead of the project said:

“Since lockdown, the media has reported huge spikes in UK households buying puppies. Although a new puppy may have been a welcome relief from the pandemic for many households, unscrupulous breeders have cashed in on this increased demand, and many well-meaning owners may have inadvertently bought puppies from poor-welfare sources.

“We want to learn more about how and why people bought puppies during lockdown, and your experiences of owning a young puppy during this unprecedented period.”

 

While puppy buying is an exciting and emotional time for households, buying and owning them also brings many challenges.

Finding a healthy puppy bred by a responsible breeder is not always a simple process. Lockdown may have posed additional difficulties to potential ‘pandemic puppy’ purchasers.

Consequently, there have been many reports of unscrupulous buyers and puppy dealers cashing in on the increased demand for puppies. Dr Rowena Packer said:

“We want to know about both good and bad experiences, so even if you feel the puppy buying process didn’t go as well as you had hoped, you have worries, or even if you have rehomed your puppy, we would love to hear from you.

“We equally need vital information from owners of puppies bought before the pandemic in 2019 and early 2020, to learn what ‘normal’ puppy buying looked like in the UK.

“Please help our study to improve the lives of puppies both now and in the future.”

The survey is open to every dog owner in the UK who purchased a puppy of any breed or crossbreed from 1st January 2019 to the present time.

The puppy must have been under 16 weeks old when it was brought home and must also have been purchased from a breeder or private seller, rather than adopted from a formal rescue organisation or bred by themselves.

The ‘Pandemic Puppies’ survey runs until the end of 2020. To take part visit https://rvc.uk.com/pandemic-puppy-survey.