Why were so many puppies purchased in 2020?  

It is true the pandemic isn’t over. But as we are slowly going back to our normal routines, we start to reflect about the abnormal time we all went through and how it has affected us and our behaviour. 


We have been writing about the pandemic puppy boom and how it has driven a surge in the illegal puppy trade. But why has this boom happened?  

According to a study from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) two in five pandemic puppy buyers feel that the pandemic had influenced their purchase in some way, predominantly because they had more time to care for a dog. The study also revealed that the top reasons influencing their purchase had a mental health component: to have ‘something happy’ to focus on, a reason to go outside to exercise more and a desire for more company due to being at home more. 

Dogs can indeed help decrease our anxiety and loneliness, but due to the easiness of online classified websites selling puppies, some people might have bought them without properly reflect about it. This might pose a risk now that we are going back to our jobs and social life. 

That's why many including FOUR PAWS are asking people to think long and hard before taking on a new pet.  

Not only are vet practices across the country struggling with staff shortages and high demand for services but rehoming centres are starting to be inundated with dogs being handed over to their care. Dogs Trust have seen a 35% increase in calls related to giving up dogs in the last few weeks. Not less shocking, the charity also said traffic to the "giving up your dog" pages of their website had increased more than 180% in July compared to pre-pandemic visits. 

Another alarming finding from RVC is how pandemic buyers were more likely to place a deposit before they had seen the puppies, or even buy them without going inside the breeder’s propriety or without seeing their mother. These are just some of the ways illegal breeders usually act. If you are not cautious, you might end up buying a puppy bred by an illegal breeder and find that is get sick or dies shortly after joining your family.  

Animal Charity

10 tips to recognise a responsible puppy seller.  


If you recently came across a breeder who showed this kind of suspicious behaviour, or if you purchased a sick puppy without knowing it, let us know by reporting it in our new reporting form. Working with experienced prosecutors Animal Protection Services, we can try to get Justice for you and your family.  

Animal Charity - Joana

Joana Fernandes

UK Investigations Consultant

Joana supports the UK investigations Team by managing illegal puppy trade cases reported to the FOUR PAWS UK. She also liaises with the Communication Team helping to raise awareness about this issue. She has over five years experience as a researcher and project assistant in wildlife conservation and animal welfare, both in the UK and internationally.   

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