If you’re thinking about getting a puppy then read on as we guide you through the basics of where to start, how to find a breeder and what to look out for.
Picking a breeder
When buying a puppy it’s important to purchase from a breeder so that you can see the puppy in the environment that it’s been reared in, and can see it interacting with its mother and littermates. Do your research, ask for recommendations and ask lots of questions.
Unfortunately puppy farms are growing at an alarming rate, where puppies are bred in appalling conditions with no concern for their welfare for dealers to make a quick profit. Buying a puppy farm bred puppy can often lead to long term behavioural and health issues that can be hard to treat, expensive, and distressing for you and your new puppy.
A few clues that the puppy may be from a puppy farm can include; the mum not being present, the seller not inviting you past the doorway or suggesting to meet you somewhere other than the home, the seller asking which puppy you’ve come to see - often indicating they have different breeds available.
A responsible breeder will want their puppies to go to a good home so should be prepared to answer any questions you have. It’s a good idea to have a chat with them on the phone before planning to visit the puppies. Some questions you may want to ask include:
Visiting the breeder
Although its very easy to get swept up with emotions when picking your puppy from a litter, do check the puppy over for any obvious abnormalities. Here are a few questions to ask and things to keep an eye out for:
Does it seem bright? Is it interacting and playing with its litter mates?
Can you see any signs of fleas? Check by running your fingers backwards through their coat, particularly in the area around their rump, looking for live fleas or flea dirt - which look like lots of black dots.
Can you feel any hernias or lumps or bumps? Feel along their tummy to see if you can feel an umbilical hernia, a lump at their belly button.
Can you see any anatomical abnormalities? Have a look at their jaw to check for evidence of an underbite or overbite. This could lead to dental problems in the future.
What do their ears look like? Check their ears to see if you can see any discharge, this could indicate ear mites.
Have they recieved worming and flea treatment? Ask the breeder to let you know which products they have had and what date they have been administered.
Have they received any vaccinations yet? Puppy vaccinations can be started at 8 weeks of age. If they’ve had any vaccinations the breeder should be able to give you a vaccination card showing what brand of vaccine was used, the date given and what they’ve been protected against.
What diet are they on? Find out what specific food they are on, and how much they are being fed.
Have they been microchipped?
The Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 is a new law passed last year, which places a legal obligation on dog breeders to meet certain conditions in order to protect the welfare of puppies and their parents. Breeders can only sell puppies they have bred themselves, from the place they were reared, they must be 8 weeks old before they leave their mum, and must be in good health.
We strongly recommend using The Puppy Contract which can be found at www.puppycontract.org.uk The website also contains more information on breeder regulations, to ensure you are purchasing your precious puppy from a reputable source.
Once you’ve picked your puppy
It’s a great idea to visit your puppy regularly so see how they’re getting on, and for them to acclimatise and get to know you. It’s often a good idea to take a blanket or small item of clothing that smells of you so that your puppy can become acclimatised to your scent, which can help aid the settling in process. Hopefully you’ll have plenty of time to prepare everything you need for your new puppy. Pheromone plug-ins like Adaptil can also be very useful in helping your puppy to settle in.
Pre purchase consultation
If you’d like to pop in to the practice and visit our friendly team to discuss your new puppy’s needs and requirements before you collect them, we’d be more than happy to book you in for a chat.
Once you’ve got your puppy home
Enjoy the new addition to your family. It’s now time to get them registered with us and book him in for his first puppy check with the vet for a full health check and to discuss vaccinations, worming, flea treatment, microchipping, diet, neutering, pet insurance, socialisation, training and more!