Sheffield vets want people to do more research before they buy a pet for Christmas

A Sheffield veterinary practice is warning of the risks of buying pets as Christmas presents, without finding out about their specific requirements, after research revealed more than a quarter of people have bought pets on a whim.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 9:56 am
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 10:18 am
Dog dressed in festive attire at Doncaster Santa Dash 2017.

White Cross Vets, which has a practice in Handsworth, says it’s more important than ever to carry out in-depth research into both the suitability of a pet and also where it is coming from, with an increasing number of pets being sold illegally by unscrupulous breeders on the internet.

This follows research from veterinary charity PDSA and YouGov, which surveyed more than 4,600 dog, cat and rabbit owners in the UK and revealed that 24% did no preparatory work before bringing a pet into their home.

David Hough, from White Cross Vets in Handsworth, said: “Although people usually buy pets with the best intentions, owning a pet can be a big commitment for many years, so getting it wrong can be disastrous. The good news is that there’s a pet to suit almost every environment, but it’s vitally important that people take their time and research what species and breed suits both their home and their lifestyle.

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“We’d also never recommend buying a pet on the back of a current trend. Otherwise the reality is that an unsuitable pet will inevitably end up lonely, unhappy, overweight or stressed. It’s a difficult situation for the owners to find themselves in when they realise that they are unable to meet a pets’ needs.

“Another concern with people not researching what they’re buying, is that it’s highly unlikely that they will look into the provenance of where or who they are buying from. There is currently a huge range of pets for sale on the internet and estimates suggest that 1,000 new online pet adverts appear every day, with this soaring in the run-up to Christmas.

"The reality is that lots of these will be from illegal puppy farms and unscrupulous breeders, and many of those pets will suffer health problems and be kept in harrowing conditions, so it’s essential this market isn’t fed further by unwitting buyers.”

David added: “Anyone buying a pet should generally check to ensure they are lively, alert and not showing any signs of illness or injury. It’s important to see kittens and puppies interacting with their mothers in the place they were born and raised. The breeder should also provide relevant paperwork that also shows they have been microchipped.

“Generally, it’s puppies that are most likely to have been illegally bred and it’s vital that buyers do their homework, or else they could end up with a whole host of problems. For anyone that’s unsure about a breeder, The Kennel Club’s ‘Find a Puppy’ service offers details of breeders with registered pedigree dogs for sale and it lists Kennel Club Assured Breeders, who have been through a rigorous inspection process.

“A good way of avoiding illegal breeders is to consider adopting an older pet which can be very rewarding. Many will be already trained and are unlikely to require the same levels of supervision that youngsters need, but it is important to ask questions about their history and why they are being rehomed.”

Anyone wanting further information should call White Cross Vets or visit