Are you thinking of bringing a puppy into the family? Getting a puppy is very exciting and a lot of fun! But sometimes it can all seem a bit daunting finding out what you need to prepare and even where you should go to find your furry bundle of joy.
As part of the Kennel Club's Puppy Awareness Week, we’re letting you know the things to think about when you first get a puppy and also the best places to find one!
The best and worst places to get a puppy
Giving a puppy that may have had a bit of a rough start in life a forever home can be really rewarding. Puppies will often come already neutered and with their primary vaccinations done. The rescue centre will normally ask for a donation towards the puppies care, and they’ll do a home visit to make sure the puppy is going to a suitable new home.
Reputable dog breeders
If you’re looking for a specific breed of dog, then your best bet would be to go to a reputable dog breeder. You can find a list of good breeders using the Kennel Clubs reputable breeders list.
Don’t go to a puppy farm or unregistered breeder
Puppy Farms really aren’t very nice places. They’re known to keep the puppies and their parents in very bad conditions, with the puppies being bred with no thought about their health. If you get a puppy from a puppy farm, they can have a huge variety of health and behavioural problems which can end up costing you a lot of money.
The people who run these puppy farms are very good at making themselves seem reputable. So the best thing to do before going to look at a puppy is to look up whether the breeder is a Kennel Club Assured Breeder.
If you do go and see a puppy and it’s clear it’s not in the best condition or environment, it’s important not to take it home because you feel sorry for it. This will only put money in the puppy farmer’s pocket, encouraging them to carry on breeding puppies in unpleasant conditions. The best thing to do if you suspect the puppies and parents are being mistreated, is to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
Don’t buy a puppy from a pet shop or online
These puppies are likely to have come from a puppy farm. Always make sure you go and see the puppy in person to decide whether or not they're right for you. It’s been found through research done by the Kennel Club that ‘1 in 10 people have bought a puppy online or through a newspaper advert without going to see it first.’ We wouldn’t recommend this at all. This is because you don’t know what the environment the puppy was raised in was like and even if the puppy is a good match for you.
Not sure what breed would best suit you and your family? Have a look at the Kennel Club’s Breed Directory to choose your perfect pup!
Things to look out for when choosing a puppy
When the big day arrives and you get to go and choose your puppy there are some things you should ask and keep an eye out for. These are:
- First of all, ask if you can handle the puppies. This will give you more of an idea of which one is best for you and also gives you the opportunity to check them over for any health issues. Some things to look out for to check if they’re in bad health are:
- Their ribs are visible
- They should have a shiny coat, no dandruff, missing fur or sore patches on the skin
- Eyes or nose that are red or runny
- Heavy breathing or coughing
- Signs of diarrhoea
- Weak, difficulty walking or limping
- Straining when they go to the toilet
- They become tired very quickly
- Ask to see the puppies with their mother and if possible (although not always) their father. This will give you an idea of the temperament of the puppies and how big they'll grow once they’re older.
- Spend a good amount of time with the puppy. Even if you have your heart set on one, arrange to have a second visit with the rest of your family just to be 100% sure it’s the right puppy for you.
- Make sure to check with the breeder what vaccinations, flea control and wormer the puppy has had whilst in their care. Also check if they’ve been microchipped and get copies of all the records proving these things have been done.
- If you decide to buy one of the puppies, always ask for a contract of sale, this will put down in writing what your responsibilities are and that of the breeder.
Keeping up to date and affording a puppy’s vital preventative care can start to mount up. But if you join the Healthy Pet Club, from as little as £10.99 a month all of your new puppy’s preventative care is included in the club benefits. The great benefits are as follows:
- Initial vaccination course - including Kennel Cough Vaccination
- 12 months’ worth of flea and worming treatments
- A free microchip (which is now a legal requirement for all dogs)
- Free nail clipping
- One free bag of puppy food
- 20% discount on neutering
- 10% discount on ALL products and services
- One 6 month veterinary health check (after second vaccination) with a vet or nurse.
Having a dog takes a lot of time and commitment. So, it’s vital to make sure you’re prepared to give up your time and be completely responsible for your new best friend. Another thing to consider is a dog should be left for no more than four hours at a time, so it’s important to think about whether you or a family member can pop in to see your dog if you work full time. This is especially something to think about if you’re getting a puppy as they can get up to all sorts of mischief while you’re away!
And finally, puppy items checklist!
When you’ve finally chosen your perfect puppy, it’s time for the exciting part; buying all of their toys and collar etc.! There are lots of things to get before you bring your puppy home and to make sure you don’t forget anything, here’s a list of all the essentials:
- Dog bed
- Dog bowl
- Water bowl
- Dog poo bags
- Dog cage for in the car
- Toys – in particular chew toys!
- A bag of puppy food