A GUISELEY vet is warning of the risks of buying pets as Christmas presents after findings showed more than a quarter of people have bought animals on a whim.

White Cross Vets stressed the need to carry out in-depth research into the suitability of a pet and where it is coming from, with an increasing number being sold illegally by unscrupulous breeders on the internet.

Research by veterinary charity PDSA and YouGov found that 24 per cent of dog, cat and rabbit owners did no preparatory work before bringing a pet into their home.

Tom Ward, from White Cross Vets, 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.

“We’d also never recommend buying a pet on the back of a current trend.”

He stressed the need for thorough research.

“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,” he said. “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.”