Last week was The Kennel Club’s Puppy Awareness Week, which aims to make sure that puppies live healthy, happy lives with suitable owners by spreading the ‘be puppy aware’ message.
Andrew Bucher, Chief Veterinary Officer at MedicAnimal, a leading online pet retailer, has issued some important tips on how to avoid buying a puppy farm bred pup.
Puppy farms are intensive puppy breeding establishments which are generally kept in poor condition and have little or no regard for the wellbeing of the dogs and puppies. This can lead to puppies that are completely unsociable, prone to disease, have behavioural issues, and inherit chronic conditions.
Andrew said: “Unfortunately it can be very difficult to know whether a puppy has been bred on one of these farms. These puppies are transported from the farm to various national destinations and dealers that then sell them online, to pet shops or meet with potential buyers in public places such as car parks. If you do have suspicions about a seller, always contact your local authority.”
Here are Andrew’s tips:
1. Meet the parents: or at the very least – the mother. If the seller finds an excuse such as the mother is on a walk or at the vets, say you will wait until she is back. It is also unusual to be shown the puppies one at a time, you should be able to view the puppies all together with their mummy. I also suggest you ask to see the kennelling conditions.
2. Health: Check that the mother has been wormed during pregnancy; if the breeder cannot tell you the regime they followed then be suspicious that they did not do it. Many worms are passed ‘in utero’ and puppies can therefore be born with them. Do the same for a flea prevention record. Ask to see their vaccination record; at a minimum they should have the primary booster.
3. Multiple litters: if the seller says that all the puppies are sold but that there a couple more litters on the way with available puppies, this is most probably a puppy farm. Similarly, if the seller is offering multiple breeds then this should be a bad sign. Reputable breeders focus on one breed 99% of the time.
4. Price: Be suspicious of anyone offering free delivery of the pup or if the pure breed pup is way too cheap (£100-150) or way too expensive (£2,000+). From a little bit of research you should be able to tell whether the price is wrong.
5. Pedigree gamble: If you wish to buy a pure-bred, then visit The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme for a list of registered breeders. Be prepared to potentially wait a long time, as healthy pure breeds are highly sought after. Please also consider the level of genetic inbreeding within your chosen breed. Be aware of the problems pure breeds can have and be prepared to pay insurance for them. Do NOT be fooled by a Kennel Club pedigree certificate – these can be easily forged. If in doubt, check with the Kennel Club.
6. Adopt a rescue: However, your first stop should be at a registered shelter as many puppies end up being abandoned here as a result of overbreeding or being unable to find a new owner in time. These pups will have been checked by a vet, are vaccinated, wormed and deserve a second chance!