The dog owning community will always be split – some will prefer to re-home dogs from shelters or animal rescue, but there will always be some who want to take on a puppy. Both have their pros and cons, which I’m not going to get into here! But either way, we are all aware of puppy farming and the damage it does to both the mummies and the pups. It really is a horrendous practice, and it seems to be prevalent in both the USA and UK, whether or not the pups are bred in another country first.
The breeding bitches have a horrendous time, basically with no life outside of constantly being pregnant or feeding litters of pups, and their health suffers as a result. Their life expectancy is shorter as a result, and they don’t get to experience any joy of life at all really.
So, it’s important to make sure as many potential puppy buyers know and understand what to look out for when purchasing a puppy. Here are the single 6 most important things to consider.
Before we get to the nitty gritty, I want to say if you have decided on a particular breed of puppy, always try and buy from a registered breeder and make sure their registration details check out as part of your research. However, I’m also aware that some of the puppy mill breeders are very sophisticated, and there have been TV documentaries showing just how professional they can make professional paperwork look! Also, be careful about buying a puppy that is advertised on free advertising sites – if a seller doesn’t pay to advertise the puppy, chances are they might not care about the wee pup at all!
Right, now to the 6 things you should think about:
One: Ask to see the puppy and it’s mother together
This is really important so you can ensure the mother is healthy and has been well looked after. Also, that it’s the same breed as the puppy. There will be some tell-tale signs if it’s not the actual mother – for example, showing little or no interest in the puppy, or even pushing it away. Also, and it may sound a little nosy, but check the mother has pronounced teats. If she doesn’t have these, chances are she hasn’t been feeding that puppy – especially is it’s still under 8 weeks. Mothers generally begin weaning their pups at about 3-4 weeks old, but it’s a gradual process up until about 8 weeks old.
Two: Visit your new puppy more than once
This would be normal procedure when buying from a registered breeder. We chose our first German Shepherd pup at about 8 weeks old, then went back to collect him and his paperwork at 13 weeks. We had to sign a contract with the breeder as well, agreeing to certain conditions from their side. This all added to us knowing they were the real deal. (It also helped we knew they supplied the local police force as well!). Ask to take a photo of the puppy you have chosen on the first visit, to help you ensure you are being handed the same puppy at a later stage.
Three: Be sure to get all the relevant paperwork for the puppy
You must do this at the time you take the puppy home, so it can’t be altered in any way by the breeder. You should be checking all the puppy vaccinations are up to date, and the birth date is on there.
Four: If you get a bad feeling about anything, WALK AWAY!
Now, I know this may be difficult – especially if you’ve held a puppy (and maybe fallen in love with it!). It can be even worse if you think there is something wrong with the puppy. If you really can’t leave it there, be sure you will be signing yourself up for a hard road of dealing and treating health problems, and in some cases the puppy may dies within a very short time, if it’s from a bad puppy farm. I know this is a horrible topic, but I just want you to be sure you know what to expect if you find you can’t walk away.
Five: Always report a seller or breeder if they are suspicious
The more people that report an unscrupulous breeder or groups selling puppies, the more chance they will be investigated and their operations closed down.
Six: Take your new puppy to your own vet as soon as possible
I have heard of cases where local vets have identified puppies aren’t possibly the age specified on their paperwork – which again is another sign it’s come from a puppy mill farm. It’s important a vet you trust takes a look at any new puppy you get, to assess it’s healthy. It’s also another check on vaccinations and any flea/work treatments as well.
These 6 things are really important to try and drive out these horrible breeders, and here are some additional tips of things you shouldn’t do.
- meet anywhere that isn’t the puppy and mother’s home. Puppies don’t come out of car boots!
- buy a puppy from someone that is offering to supply a number of different breeds.
- buy a puppy that looks very small and/or underweight – it’s probably too young to be taken from it’s mother.
- feel any pressure to buy a puppy from a particular individual. If you are made to feel under any duress, it’s probably someone overly keen to offload a puppy!
- buy a puppy that you suspect may have come in from another country illegally. This is particularly true in the UK where puppies may be coming in from farms on the European continent.
I hope this helps if you are a first time buyer, and you want to have your own puppy. If you’re a seasoned dog owner, please feel free to add anything else you consider important, by leaving a comment below. The more we can all do to stamp out puppy mills, the better!