In the past few months there has been a surge in the number of people welcoming the patter of tiny paws into their home.
Research published by Direct Line’s pet insurance arm claimed that 5.7m new pets were bought between the beginning of lockdown in March and the start of September, including 2.2m dogs. It said the average amount paid for a dog was £801 and that pugs were the most popular breed.
Dachshund: typical price £2,500. Lowest: £1,000. Highest: £5,000.
Chow-chow: typical price £2,500-£4,000. Lowest: £2,000. Highest: £7,000.
Pug: typical price £1,500-£2,000. Lowest: £850. Highest: £4,000.
French bulldog: typical price £2,000-£3,000. Lowest: £900. Highest: £11,000.
English bulldog: typical price £2,500-£3,000. Lowest: £1,000. Highest: £10,000.
Cockapoo: typical price £2,500. Lowest £1,500. Highest: £4,500.
Labrador retriever: typical price £2,000-£2,500. Lowest: £750. Highest: £4,500.
Springer spaniel: typical price £1,500-£2,000. Lowest: £750. Highest: £2,500.
Cocker spaniel: typical price £2,000-£2,500. Lowest £1,400. Highest: £3,500.
Staffordshire bull terrier: typical price £2,500. Lowest: £600. Highest: £3,500.
Do your research. Have a look at the seller’s profile and search for their name online. If they are advertising many litters from different breeds, this is a red flag. Fraudsters often give fake addresses, use a variety of different mobile numbers and have multiple ads online. Be aware that, for example, Pets4Homes doesn’t visit its advertisers’ homes or carry out checks on them – it says this is the buyer’s responsibility.
Do consider a Kennel Club assured breeder – to find out more, go to thekennelclub.org.uk/dog-breeding/the-kennel-club-assured-breeders/.
Don’t ever get a dog that you haven’t seen with its mum, says the Dogs Trust chief executive, Owen Sharp. Make sure you see them together at their home and beware of the seller making excuses as to why mum isn’t there, such as “she’s at the vet’s”, “she’s asleep” or “she’s out for a walk”. Also, if the mother is there, check it’s not a “fake” mum – most fake mums don’t interact with the puppies as they fear the real mum returning.
Do make sure to visit more than once, even if it is via video call because of the coronavirus restrictions.
Don’t – if at all possible – pay a deposit until you have seen the dog in the flesh. Pets4Homes has a service where a buyer can put down a deposit that is held in escrow until the buyer and seller have finalised the transaction – although sellers can choose not to use it.
Do ask lots of questions and make sure you see vital paperwork, such as a puppy contract, which gives lots of information about their parents, health, diet, etc.
Don’t agree to go and pick up a dog somewhere “convenient” such as a car park, service station or layby.
Bed and bedding
A dog crate (also known as a dog cage or indoor kennel), if needed
Possibly a harness
Food and water bowls
A toothbrush, if needed
A crate/carrier/pet seatbelt for the car, if needed
A GPS dog tracker, if needed
Some breeds such as whippets may need a coat during the colder months – and possibly pyjamas
Initial course of vaccinations and worming tablets
Paying for your pet to be neutered or spayed
Food (there’s a vast array of options: raw meat, dry kibble, various tins and sachets …)
Occasional new toys
Toothpaste, if needed
Yearly health checks and booster vaccinations
Regular flea and worm treatments
Pet insurance (if you decide to take it out)
Vet fees if your dog becomes ill (these can be costly if you don’t have insurance)
Walks and/or doggy daycare while you are at work.
Paying for boarding kennels, if needed
aying for training classes, if needed
Puppy power: the costs and pitfalls of buying a dog