If you are getting a dog, most veterinarians recommend that you buy from a breeder. Choosing a breeder, however, can be rather difficult.
To help you get a healthy and happy pet from a humane breeder, you’ll need to be prepared to ask some questions.
1. Are the puppy’s parents “certified”?
Since certain breeds are at risk for genetic conditions like hip problems and heart problems, breeders need to have their dogs evaluated and tested for diseases and ultimately “certified” disease-free. Study up on your breed of choice to see if there are common genetic problems worth discussing.
2. Can I meet the dog’s parents?
If possible, meet the puppy’s parents. Make sure that they appear to be in good health and evaluate their overall temperament.
3. Have the puppies been socialized?
Have the pups been around other dogs and people? Socialization is critical in puppies 6 – 16 weeks old. Proper socialization consists of positive experiences with other dogs and humans of varying ages and sizes.
4. Have vaccines been administered to the puppies?
How many shots have the puppies received and when are they due for their next round of shots?
5. Have the puppies been dewormed?
All puppies are born with worms and routine deworming is recommended.
6. Have any of the puppies in the litter been sick?
If so, what were the signs, the diagnosis, and treatment measures?
7. How many veterinarian visits have the puppies had?
Have they been examined and declared “healthy?” If not, what problems have they had? Have they been on any medications?
8. What is your guarantee?
What guarantee does the breeder give with their puppies? If the puppy is found to have a severe illness, what will they do to compensate? This is a difficult topic, but one that is a lot easier to cover up front rather than after the fact.
9. Do you have any references?
Ask the breeder for references from puppy owners that they have sold to within the past year. Call their clients and find out if the breeder was fair, if they were happy with their pets, and how any problems were handled.
10. Do you require a breeder’s contract?
If so, what is in it? Is the breeder willing to take the puppy back at any time if you are unable to keep it?
11. Do you require puppies to be spayed or neutered by a certain age?
If that is the case, it may not be an issue, but it is best to know before you get your puppy.
12. What is the dog’s family history?
Ask if the breeder has information about the breed line. For example, ask how long most dogs in the breed line have lived and what they typically die from. Be sure to write this information down, since it may be important for monitoring your pet’s health as they get older.
13. What are you currently feeding the puppies?
Regardless of what they are feeding, it is ideal to continue feeding the same food for the first few days at home to minimize the risk of gastrointestinal disturbances. If you choose to change a puppy’s diet, do it gradually.
14. Will you supply a health certificate and certificate of sale?
Ask the breeder if they will supply a veterinarian-issued health certificate for your puppy. Also, be sure to ask for a certificate of sale, which may be required depending on your location.
15. Do you belong to a breed club?
If so, ask for the club name and references.
Getting your questions answered can make you feel more comfortable about welcoming a new pet into your home.
Proper and responsible breeding, appropriate healthcare, and socialization will make a big difference in how healthy your puppy is and how happy they are with their new family.