Kathryn Miller BVSC CertAVP(SAM) MRCVS
With Christmas approaching, many people will begin thinking about purchasing a puppy. The old adage ‘A puppy is for life, not just for Christmas’ is never more important than at this time of year.
For this reason, many breeders don’t produce puppies over the Christmas period, and most rescue centres don’t allow adoptions through the month of December – this may seem strict, but this is to attempt to reduce the devastating number of dogs that are returned to shelters the following Spring after outgrowing their impulse purchase novelty.
If you are planning on buying a puppy – at any time of the year – please consider these 3 ‘top tips’.
You may have your heart set on a particular breed of dog, but does that breed fit your lifestyle? Everyone loves a beautiful Border Collie – but are you able to provide 2+ hours of daily off lead running? If not, perhaps a more sedentary breed may be better.
And whilst a Great Dane certainly makes a stunning companion, these mammoth dogs certainly are not designed for apartment living!
Not all breeders are equal. Monetary gain is not a good reason to breed dogs; neither is ‘to give my dog the experience of giving birth’. Before producing each litter, thought should be given to the temperament and health status of the dam and sire. Each breed (and crossbreed) has its own known health defects, and a good breeder will have tested the parents against these. Speak with your vet about the importance of things such as hip scores, elbow scores, eye tests and genetic testing, to help avoid future heartbreak.
Puppies inherit much of their nature from their parents. It is vital to meet at least the dam and check she is approachable and friendly, as fearfulness and aggression can be passed onto the puppies. Many puppy farmers will give excuses for why the mother is not there, or will use a fake mother dog to trick well-meaning customers. If something doesn’t seem right then walk away and call the RSPCA to report the litter. Please realise that you are not ‘rescuing’ if you buy from a puppy farm, you are financially supporting puppy farming.
If you need any help then please call Crossroads Veterinary Centre on 01494 459095 and our registered veterinary nurses would be happy to provide guidance and support.