MORE than one fifth of south west residents have admitted they bought a puppy during lockdown was to held them and their family.

New research from the Kennel Club, as part of its #BePuppywise campaign, shows 14 per cent of dog owners in the South West said the main reason for getting their puppy was to have a lockdown companion to help them and their family, and 19 per cent said it was because they were spending more time at home than usual.

More than a quarter of locals believe lockdown was the perfect time to get a puppy – with three in five (63 per cent) also stating their dog was the best thing about lockdown.

But thousands of people missed red flags when buying puppies.

A total of 29 per cent paid money before actually seeing their puppy and 21 per cent admitted they didn’t see the puppy’s breeding environment.

An overwhelming 77 per cent weren’t asked any questions by the breeder about their suitability as owners.

Following these findings, the Kennel Club has launched its #BePuppywise campaign, urging people to take their time and do proper research when getting a dog.

The campaign provides advice, tools and resources, from videos to top tips for both potential owners to help them find the right dog and breeder, and prepare for their new family member, as well as those new owners who are struggling with their pandemic puppy, helping them care for their new best friend as lockdown lifts and beyond.