Puppy Pitfalls

As this is the November edition, the chances are when you are reading this that Christmas is only around 7 weeks away! If you are like my wife, Annelise, the chances are that you’ll have been thinking of and buying presents since Boxing Day last year. I on the other hand am confident I can sort everything out on the 23rd December – thank god for Amazon Prime!

The old adage that “a puppy is for life, not just for Christmas” is as true as ever, however, there are still many 4 legged new additions to the family around the festive period. Even pet owners with the best intentions can get caught out, so I thought that it would be useful to put down a few words of advice if you are considering getting a new puppy. Unforeseen problems can occur with even the best bred dog, but making sure that your pup is as healthy as possible when he or she arrives will help avoid additional complications.

I bought a second hand car last year, and on reflection, there are many parallels between buying a car and a pet. Granted, I’ve never come across a Labrador with a dipstick or heard of anyone test-driving a border terrier, but in terms of decision making prior to a purchase, there are definite similarities!

Do your research:

Decide on what is the best breed for you! A 2-seater convertible may be great fun to drive, but isn’t much good for a family of 4. Equally, don’t go buying a large breed dog if you don’t have the space outside or the time to walk it. Make sure that you have considered the requirements of your new addition and that you can accommodate them.

It’s also advisable to research the breeder. If they are kennel Club registered, this provides a good degree of confidence that the breeder is reputable. However, many respectable breeders are not Kennel Club Registered. If so, ask for a reference of someone else who has purchased a puppy from them – honest breeders will not have a problem with this

Meet the vendor:

Just as it is inadvisable to meet someone at some motorway services to test drive and buy a car, the same applies to purchasing a pet. Always make sure to go the breeder’s house and at least see the dam of the puppy. Even if the offer to “save you a journey” seems genuine, you should always endeavour to see the environment that your prospective pet has been bought up in.

Watch out for dealers:

Unlike the world of cars, caution needs to be exercised when making a purchase from someone who buys puppies and sells them for a profit. Puppies can be born anywhere and sold more locally. Again, asking to see the dam of the puppy will confirm that the vendor did breed it. If the puppy has been vaccinated, it should have a vaccination card. Look at the address of the veterinary surgeon who administered the vaccines – if it is not local, the chances are that you are buying from a dealer.

Check the MOT certificate and service history:

 When buying a new set of wheels, you want to make that it has been well looked after and is running well. The same applies to a puppy! Ideally they will have been checked over by a veterinary surgeon and hopefully received a vaccination if they are old enough. Also check to see if they have been treated for fleas or worms and have documentation to support this. If your new pet has not been vet checked, then it is advisable to get them seen as soon as possible after you get them home to make sure there are no problems.

In conclusion, the vast majority of dog breeders are genuine and take pride in producing healthy and lovable pups! The above advice is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it will help to ensure that any prospective puppy owners can avoid additional pitfalls when they take on their new pet.