New research by Devon-based pet food makers Forthglade has revealed the shocking number of Brits who’ve admitted to being totally unprepared when taking on a dog.

As campaigners aim to tackle irresponsible breeding and puppy farms, it seems the British public also need more awareness about the responsibility involved in taking on a new canine family member.

According to the report, over half (54 percent) admit they realised taking on a dog was a mistake as soon as they brought the dog home, and 40 percent completely underestimated the commitment required to raise a happy, healthy dog.

Over a quarter (26%) said having to be at home to look after the pup was too much to take on whilst another 25% said having a puppy was as hard as having a newborn baby. 39 percent wished they’d known more beforehand, whilst 13% admitted they had done no research prior to getting a dog.

A staggering 61 percent said, on reflection, an older dog would have been easier than getting a lively puppy.

Some of the reasons given include damage caused to the house by the puppy (26 percent), challenging puppy training (24%), and being unprepared for the financial outlay involved in owning a puppy (24 percent).

Forthglade has recently launched its ‘Prepare for Puppy’ campaign, back by TV vet Steve Leonard, to help potential owners prepare for what lies ahead.

“The results of this poll are deeply concerning”, explains Steve. “Unfortunately, there is a real lack of education around what’s involved when taking on a puppy. Raising a dog of any age requires consistent gentle handling, teaching and care; and this is never more crucial than when you welcome a puppy into your family.

“Preparation is everything – from vaccinations and puppy-proofing to ensuring your dog has a nourishing, balanced diet. There will be so much to learn about your puppy, their needs, character and health. Getting to know your new puppy won’t happen overnight but there is nothing more heart-warming than seeing the bond between an older dog and its owner, from a lifetime working together to make each other’s lives better – and this comes from getting it right from the start. I hope this campaign helps to promote all the considerations necessary before people rush out and get a puppy.”

Gerard Lovell, Managing Director at Forthglade who commissioned the report, commented, “We know a puppy is bought with the best intentions, but when the reality of the situation hits home, that’s when the panic sets in. Welcoming a dog into the family can be a wonderful experience, but sadly if you’re not fully prepared, things can go wrong very quickly and this is when we see puppies being dumped at rescue centres or sold on online.  We hope this campaign will make people stop, do more research and decide whether a puppy is right for them.”

For more information, download Forthglade’s One Paw at a Time guide for expert tips and advice.

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