Thinking of buying a puppy? Here’s our top ten tips of what to ask your potential breeder…
1. “Can I see the pups at home?”
Always buy a puppy from a home environment. It may be that the puppy has been bred a long way from you. Trust us, if anyone offers to meet you in a motorway car park halfway, they are not doing you any favours. You need to get a feel for the breeders. Puppies that come from a loving home environment will reflect that in their own personality. Puppies that have been purchased without seeing the parents are much more likely to end up being rehomed. Look up images of puppy farms – you should be horrified.
2. “Where have the puppies been kept? Can I see?”
There should be clear feeding, sleeping and toileting areas and plenty of space. If a puppy has not been able to differentiate these areas or leave the nest box, toilet training can be difficult and teaching your puppy where they can and can’t go will be a challenge.
3. “What has the health of the parents been like?”
You are unlikely to be able to see the parents’ medical history, but it is worth doing some research. Are there health risks associated with your chosen breed? Should the parents have been tested, e.g. hip, elbow, eye or heart testing? Are there any behavioural traits associated with the breed that you should be aware of. Research these questions yourself. Use the internet; ask friends, vets, vets nurses and receptionists. Then ask the breeder. How do their answers sound?
4. “Can I see the vaccination and worming records of the puppy’s mother?”
Ask to see the vaccination and worming records for the mother. Immunity in the first weeks for a puppy comes from mum. It is important that her immunity is as strong as possible. She should have had regular annual vaccinations. Worms are also passed on from mum. It is recommended that pregnant mums are treated with fenbendazole (panacur) to reduce the number of worm larvae that are passed on.
5. “What worm and flea treatment has the puppy had since birth?”
All puppies get worms from their mum via the placenta and from mum’s milk. These are treated with fenbendazole (panacur).
6. “What were the pups weaned onto?”
If you would like to feed your puppy a regular dog food (we recommend this – a good quality one) it is helpful if they are already used to eating this. If however they are used to eating weetabix, or homemade food it can make life more difficult for you and more stressful for your puppy when they come to your house.
7. “How much have the pups been handled?”
It is recommended that pups are handled gently from day one (e.g. to be weighed). This constitutes mild stress for the puppy. Puppies that have been subjected to mild stress from an early age are better able to cope with stressful situations later in life.
From five weeks of age puppies should be isolated from their mother and litter mates for occasional short periods. There should be plenty of time spent with humans, both adults and children. In the week before going to their new home at least five minutes of individual time should be spent with the puppy.
8. “How much do the puppies play bite?”
Puppies use their mouths to explore the world and play. They have to learn where this is appropriate and where it isn’t – the litter mates will teach each other. Have any humans been teaching this or is it all down to you, from scratch? If a puppy needs to learn this by the time they lose their baby teeth. No-one likes to be bitten.
9. “Does you (the breeder) have any tips for me and my potential new puppy?”
Good breeders will produce excellent puppies and care about their breed. They will be experts in their breed, and a great source of information. It is very worthwhile building a relationship with them based on trust. Trust takes time and requires each party to like or respect each other. Are they happy for you to phone them for advice? Do they have any feeding tips? Are they also trying to build a relationship with you? Do they care where their puppies go? Listen to your gut instinct, do you like or respect them?
10. “Do the puppies have any insurance cover?”
Many breeders will be able to provide you with a temporary cover note. This will cover accidents immediately and illness after a two-week cooling off period. It is well worth having. Vets can give you immediate illness as well as accident cover, so be sure to bring your puppy to us for a free check over, insurance cover, and much more.
The team at Honeybourne are always happy to answer any questions you may have about owning a puppy – book an appointment to chat to one of our team today!