Puppy Buying Guide
*It is important to remind people that a puppy isn’t just for Christmas. If someone isn't willing to take the time to properly care for and train a new pet, then don't give them the gift of a pet for Christmas. Unfitting care or training can lead to behavioural problems, which if not addressed, can lead to even bigger problems.
Do your research!
Owning a dog can be a 15+ year commitment, ensure you are aware and ready for everything that comes with owning a dog. Dog breeds and their needs can vary greatly so spend some time researching different breeds to determine what dog will be best for you and your lifestyle. Especially as some health issues assorted with certain breeds can be very costly.
Ensure you only contact reputable breeders that are licensed, you can contact your local authority for a list of licenced breeders in the area or visit the Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme for advice on breeders.
Be aware of online advertisements as puppies which have been illegally imported and bred in puppy farms are often sold to unsuspecting dog lovers via online selling sites. The five breeds most often illegally imported into the UK are Dachshunds, English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs and Chow Chows.
Speak to the seller on the phone before visiting and ask lots of questions about the puppy. You should be aware of any genetic issues related the specific breed and should ask for a full health history of both parents.
Ask for proof of any vet checks, vaccinations, pedigree papers (if applicable) and microchipping.
Ask whether the breeder is licenced and obtain their licence number which can be verified by the Local Authority. If the breeder does not have a licence number you should not purchase a dog from them. This is a legal requirement when selling a dog and prevents illegal trading, possible problems in the future with obtaining an illegal breed, illegally imported dogs or a dog with health problems.
Meet the puppy
ALWAYS meet at the puppy’s home and ensure that you see the puppy interacting with the mother and any other litter mates. Under Lucy’s Law it is now a legal requirement that puppies are only sold from the premises where they have been bred with their mother present, you should always be suspicious if the breeder wants to meet somewhere else, wants to deliver the dog to you or makes excuses for why the mother cannot be seen (this is often a sign that the puppies have been illegally imported from a puppy farm).
Visit the puppy more than once before taking it home and do not feel pressured to make an instant decision. Be aware that the puppy must be at least 8 weeks old before it can be removed from its mother and must be microchipped before it comes home with you. A puppy being removed too early from its mother and siblings can result in serious behavioural and physical problems in the future.
What to do if you are concerned
If something doesn’t feel right then you should walk away and report your concerns. As hard as it may be when you’ve already fallen in love with a puppy - buying the puppy may fund any illegal operations and potentially cause suffering to more puppies in the future.
If you believe the seller may be illegally selling, breeding or importing the puppies you should contact the Local Authority as soon as possible and if you are concerned regarding the welfare of the puppies you can report this to Animal Welfare. Remember you can also call Animal Welfare for advice and help before purchasing a puppy.