New research from the Kennel Club has revealed that nearly a third of puppies bought online suffered from illness or death in their first year.
The study has been published as part of Puppy Awareness Week and the KC feel that, 'our instant gratification culture is putting puppies at risk.'
According to the study more than one million puppies are bought before they are even seen and half a million are 'online deliveries'.
Figures reveal that 18 percent of owners who bought their puppy directly over the Internet, after initially finding the advert online, say the puppy experienced sickness in the first year, which was then ongoing throughout its life. Some of these dogs went on to die. There were 13 percent who said the puppies were ill the first year but they went on to recover.
These dogs often suffered from gasto-intestinal problems, skin issues, pneumonia, kennel cough and parvovirus.
After buying online 28 percent claim that they suffered from financial hardship due to the cost involved in looking after a sick dog. A quarter of respondents said that their dog did not make it past its fifth birthday.
Puppy farmers may try to get round the upcoming Lucy's Law regulations banning third party sales by selling their dogs directly over the Internet. It is felt that the public need educating about the warning signs and to avoid buying their dogs from these rogue traders.
The whole idea behind Lucy's Law is that puppy buyers should see the puppy with its mum. It should be a requirement under the forthcoming law that sales be completed in the presence of the new owner. This would prevent online sales where prospective buyers have not seen the animal first.
These figures show a shocking 12 percent of people buy their puppy before they have even seen it in the flesh.
Almost a third (31 percent) don't see the puppy in its breeding environment with 20 percent admitting they have not seen the puppy with its mum.
There were 23 percent of people that thought they may have bought their dog from a puppy farm. Encouragingly, a third said that they know knew how to spot a rogue breeder.
Caroline Kisko, Secretary of dog welfare organisation, the Kennel Club, said: 'A shocking number of people are spending less than two hours researching their puppy purchase and this is leading to a serious welfare crisis. The internet is making it easier than ever before to buy things instantly, and this is having an alarming impact on the way people expect to buy a puppy.
'Whilst there is nothing wrong with seeing an advert for a puppy online, you should always then be looking to see the puppy's home environment and the puppy with its mum. If a breeder is offering to deliver the pup to your house, asking to take money from you before you've even seen the pup, or trying to flog the puppy as quickly as possible, alarm bells should be ringing.
'Buying a puppy is meant to be a happy experience so it is extremely sad that so many people are experiencing emotional and financial hardship as a result.
'The government's plans to ban the third party sale of puppies, through pet shops and the like, is hugely welcome but puppy buyers shouldn't become complacent. Rogue dog breeders selling directly to puppy buyers can still be masking terrible conditions and the yawning gap in puppy buyer awareness about how to identify a good breeder leaves people, and dogs, very vulnerable.
'We are particularly concerned about so called 'fashionable' breeds such as French Bulldogs, or designer cross breeds, such a Cockerpoos, being victims of this rogue trade. Wherever a breed explodes in popularity, and demand outstrips supply from responsible breeders, there will be a gap in the market to fill and bad breeders will be only too happy to fill it.'
Jenny Campbell from BBC's Dragon's Den along with Dr Dawn Harper, from TV's Embarrassing Bodies, have joined forces with the KC to create an film to raise awarewness about how to buy a puppy responsibly.