Buying A Puppy: A Welfare Guide

Always buy a puppy from a licensed breeder or re-home from a reputable rescue centre.

A responsible breeder should be happy to be asked plenty of questions, and will ask a few themselves. They will invite you for a visit, or be accommodating when you request visits. They will want to ensure you can offer a good home.

Call the breeder before you visit – it is very easy to get distracted when you are face-to-face with cute puppies!

Prepare a list of questions, which should include:

  • Who are the parents? Are they both healthy? Have they been screened for inherited diseases? What were the results?
  • Are the puppies healthy? Have there been any health issues?
  • Have the puppies had routine veterinary treatments (e.g. wormer).
  • Will the puppies be vaccinated, or have they already been vaccinated?
  • Will they be microchipped?
  • Will the puppies receive any training, such as house training?
  • Will the puppies be well socialised?
  • Where do the puppies live? Are they in a home or kept separately? Are they used to people coming and going? Are they left alone or around people all day? Consider your own lifestyle here – is the puppy growing up in an environment similar to the one you can offer?

Try and make a note of the answers, or ask the breeder to email you with any answers and paperwork. If you have any concerns about a puppies health or you’re not sure about test results, please do consult a vet.

Visit the puppy where they have been bred

You should visit the puppy more than once at the place he/she was bred. Never agree to meet halfway or at a random location such as a different home or a motorway service station. And never buy the puppy after just one visit.

Check the area where the puppy has been reared – there should be evidence of a whelping pen (an area where the mother has given birth to and is raising her puppies). There should be plenty of bedding and food/water bowls.

meet the parents!

It is crucial to meet the puppy’s mother and siblings. It may not be possible to see the father, so in this case make sure to at least talk with his owner over the phone.

Look for signs that the bitch is the puppy’s real mother. Does she have large mammary glands ready for her pups to suckle? Is she accepting their attempts to suckle? Some breeders may try to pass another bitch as the mother, and this dog will likely try to avoid suckling attempts.

Ask about the parents. Have their been any health issues, or are there any now? What are their personalities like? What was their background?

Check Your Puppy’s Health

Watch your puppy and look for any signs of poor health or care.

The following are things to look out for, but this list is not exhaustive:

  • Skin (patches of sore or thickened skin, stains around their bottom indicating diarrhoea)
  • Fur (bald patches, dull coat, scruffy, black flecks that could be a parasite)
  • Eyes (red, runny, or crusty)
  • Nose (runny or sore patches)
  • Breathing (noisy, laboured, coughing)
  • Posture (crouching, hunched)
  • Body condition (very thin with ribs showing, limping or awkward movement)
  • Energy levels (weakness, fatigue, can’t play for very long)

If you have any concerns, check with a vet prior to purchasing your puppy.

Do not buy a puppy because you are concerned for their welfare. Please call us on 0330 120 0909 as soon as possible.

Ask to see the relevant records for any veterinary activity such as check-ups, screening tests, worming treatments, vaccinations, and microchipping.

Don’t choose a puppy just based on their looks

Choose a puppy from a responsible source who is healthy, well socialised, and happy!

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

Enjoy your new puppy and have a wonderful life together!

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