With the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated increase in the number of people working from home, vets have anecdotally reported an increase in the number of clients bringing in new pets. Finding a suitable new pet can be a challenging and expensive process, so the launch of a new online resource designed to help match prospective dog owners with new pets may prove useful.

RightPaw is a new consumer-focused website incorporating veterinary oversight, which will connect people looking for a new pet with reputable dog breeders. RightPaw has been started by Sydney-based veterinarian Dr Imogen Tomlin-Game and her marketing executive husband Nathan Olivieri. 

RightPaw hopes to become a legitimate, transparent, ethical resource for finding dog breeders online, together with helping to educate new dog owners about making the right breed choices, and helping to unite quality breeders behind a common goal of improving welfare standards in Australia.

RightPaw has a written ‘Code of Ethics’ for breeders which are based on the legal guidelines for each state or territory, as well as other best practice principles widely accepted in the industry. “We individually ‘vet’ every single breeder who lists on RightPaw, taking them through our checklist and gathering evidence to validate their answers. People looking for pets get frustrated, confused and understandably pushed towards the ‘easy’ choice of paying for an easily accessible pup from a dubious source. RightPaw can transform that process so this pull towards unethical breeders stops”, said Dr Tomlin-Game.

With a veterinary background working in pet rescue and shelters, Dr Tomlin-Game explained that the idea for the concept stems from the sometimes daunting task that would-be pet owners face when trying to research and purchase a new canine pet. 

“I’m realistic that there will always be a demand for puppies and for specific breeds. I truly believe that regulating the market for puppies by working on the inside, with excellent quality breeders, is where we can affect the most change and make the biggest difference for animal welfare. Helping people to make responsible choices also decreases the chance of their dog ending up in a shelter in the future”, said Dr Tomlin-Game.

RightPaw also has plans to facilitate adoption from rescue organisations and potentially expand their offering into other species. “The opportunity to create positive change in this space is exciting. Now more than ever, the time is right for a responsible platform to connect prospective pet owners with responsible breeders who will be selective about who they sell their pups to and will help to educate the public about their choices”, said Dr Tomlin-Game.

For further information about RightPaw, check out the website here.