CHECKLIST: BUYING A PUPPY
The first step on the road to pet ownership is to ask yourself some tough questions: Why do you want a puppy? Can you afford one? Are you prepared to take care of a dog every day for his entire life?
If you’ve decided you’re ready for a dog, follow these helpful tips to ensure you’re choosing a dog who is healthy and well-socialized.
- Consider adoption. Adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue instead of buying a puppy is one of the surest ways to ensure you aren’t dealing with a puppy mill. Read more about adopting a puppy through a shelter or breed rescue group.
- Find a responsible breeder and visit their premises. Never buy a puppy without seeing where it was raised and where its parents are housed; at least the mother of the puppy. DO NOT ACCEPT ANY EXCUSE FOR NOT BEING ALLOWED TO DO SO.
- Don’t be fooled by common claims made by pet stores when selling puppies. Despite what they may tell you, pet stores do sell puppy mill puppies.
- Don’t be swayed by a great website or ad. Many puppy mills pose as small family breeders.
- Avoid the temptation to “rescue” a puppy mill puppy by buying him. If you see someone keeping puppies in poor conditions, alert your local animal control authorities instead of buying.
- Do your part: Pledge to help stop puppy mills! Choose not to buy your next pet from a pet store or Internet site, and refuse to buy supplies from any pet store or Internet site that sells puppies.
ARE YOU SUPPORTING A PUPPY MILL?
RED FLAGS TO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR IF YOU CHOOSE TO BUY A PUPPY
- Pet stores that sell puppies.
- Breeders who ship their puppies to the buyer’s location or offer to meet the buyer at a meeting place somewhere away from the kennel.
- Breeders who sell multiple breeds of dogs
- Breeders who don’t let you see the parents (or at least the mother) in their normal living conditions, or only let you see them at a designated place, like a greeting room that is separate from where the dogs live.
- Breeders who ask little or no personal questions about your lifestyle and home life.
- Breeders who breed dogs repeatedly every time they go into heat.
- Breeders who sell puppies that are 7 weeks old or younger. (They may tell you they are older.)
- Breeders who sell mixed breed dogs (aka “designer dogs”), like Puggle, Teddy Bear, Yorkipoo, Pekepoo, etc.
RESPONSIBLE DOG BREEDING
If you are committed to buying a dog or puppy, here are a few sign of responsible breeders.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF A BREEDER IS RESPONSIBLE?
- Responsible breeders never sell their pets through pet stores. 99% of pet stores buy their puppies from puppy mills.
- Responsible breeders typically don’t ship their puppies.
- Responsible breeders specialize in 1 or 2 breeds.
- Responsible breeders have at least the mother at their location and let prospective buyers see her and observe her health and behavior in the place where she normally spends her time.
- Responsible breeders screen and select homes for their puppies and will turn potential buyers away whose lifestyle, home situation, or level of com mitment doesn’t fit the breed. They often ask many questions about you, your family, and your home – such as questions about your daily routine (eg: the hours you work), your yard (fencing, size), your exercise level, etc. – all to determine if the breed of dog will be a good fit for you (and vice versa).
- Responsible breeders only breed dogs over 2 years of age and only breed the dog a limited number of times – not every year.
- Responsible breeders perform extensive genetic testing to help reduce the potential for passing on congenital problems such as hip dysplasia. You ought to ask for copies of the test results.
- Responsible breeders don’t separate the puppies from their mothers until the puppies are at least 8 weeks old.
- Responsible breeders don’t sell hybrid “designer dogs.” There are, however, some hybrids that are gaining acceptance among reputable hobby breeders. Goldendoodles are one example.