There are several avenues in which to go when looking to purchase a dog. You can go the dog pound and rescue a dog or puppy. Dog pounds do not only have mutts they also have pure breed dogs and puppies. Another option is a pet store, once again having pure breeds and mixed breeds. Or, you can get a pure breed puppy from a dog breeder, which means you must know the ins and outs of choosing a dog breeder. The most important thing is to get the best possible breed for your environment and family as well as to get the healthiest puppy with a good personality. These are the first areas for possible future dog owners to infiltrate good dog wellness practices.
If you make the decision to go the route of a dog breeder do not be fooled into thinking that all dog breeders are good because they must love dogs and would certainly not take any short cuts or endanger the dogs. This is not at all the case. There are poor dog breeders that do not follow the rules and take short cuts, and will try and pull the wool over their customers’ eyes. A bad breeder doesn’t practice proper prenatal care, socialize their puppies, or give disease screening. They also do not provide their puppies with good preventative pet health care.
When you interview a dog breeder it is important keep an eye out for red flags that wave in the wind. Should you decide to go with a dog breeder, here is what to look for, ask for and red flags you need to be able to recognize when shopping for your new puppy.
1. Puppies that have been socialized
Puppies that receive little or no human handling between the ages of eight and 16 weeks of age often remain fearful when exposed to new situations. A puppy who is not socialized may appear fearful when around you, in the car ride home, their first trip to the vet and meeting children, strangers or other dogs. Meeting their new family for the first time, the car ride to their new home, their first trip to the vet, and meeting children, strangers or other dogs for the first time can be extremely frightening for these puppies.
The dog breeder you are interviewing should be able to discuss socialization of puppies, give tips, tell you how he has socialized his puppies, and tell you ways to ensure you continue the socialization and training.
2. Puppies that have seen a veterinarian
The dog breeder should have no problem providing you with proof of medical care and nutrition, as well as medical records.
3. Beware of breeders who are reluctant to give you references.
4. Beware of breeders that breed more than one breed of dog.
5. The breeders facilities are open to inspection, are kept sanitary, and dog wellness techniques and care are obvious.
6. Beware of breeder facilities that look like puppy mills.
7. Beware of puppies that appear dirty or smelly.
8. Breeders that don’t work with a veterinarian providing good quality prenatal care to the bitch. Once again their medical records should be available for your to see.
9. Beware of breeders that don’t take the puppies to their veterinarian for general “wellness care” and health certificates.
10. Beware of breeders that won’t give you a guarantee.
11. At least the dame of the litter is on the premises and available for your inspection, with pictures and contact details of the owner of the sire.
12. Beware of breeders that sell to pet shops.
Here are some questions to ask when you interview the dog breeder.
1. Are the puppies’ parents certified? Most diseases such as hip problems, eye and heart problems are inherited. Many breeders will have their dogs evaluated and tested for that disease and ultimately “certified” by a veterinary specialist to be disease-free. Know about the breed and if there are any common genetic problems.
2. Ask to see the puppies parents in order to evaluate them and take note of their size. Their size will give you a good indication of the size their puppies will grow into. Investigate their temperament as well. Are they shy, aggressive or well adjusted?
3. Confirm through medical records that the pup has been vaccinated, dewormed and has seen the vet.
4. Ask if any of the puppies in the litter have been sick? If so, what were the signs, the diagnosis and treatment?
5. What is the breeders guarantee? What guarantee does the breeder give with their puppies? If the puppy is found to have a severe illness, what will they do? A good breeder will be used to discussing this area of his business and will not find it offensive or unusual
6. Ask the breeder for a couple references of puppy owners that they have sold to within the past year. Call the owners and inquire if the puppy was healthy, and if they had any problems and how those problems were handled if any.
7. Some breeders require that you spay or neuter your dog by a certain age. If that is the case, that may not be a problem but it is best to know before you get your puppy.
8. Ask the breeder for the family history of which ever pup you select. What age did the parents live until? What did they die from? The medical history of both parents? This could be important for when your pup is older.
9. What is the breeder currently feeding the puppy? Regardless of what they are feeding, it is ideal to continue feeding the same food for the first few days at home to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal disturbances. If you choose to change the diet, do it gradually.
10. Health certificate and certificate of sale. Ask the breeder if he will supply a health certificate for the puppy issued by his veterinarian. Some states require also a certificate of sale.
Good dog wellness practices means doing research on the suitable breed for your lifestyle and family, as well as doing research on dog breeders and how to assess them before purchasing a puppy. These are the first responsible steps any future dog owner should take.
Dog Trivia: A dog’s sense of smell is more than 100,000 times stronger than that of humans.