the past various veterinary authorities have made strong recommendations to
the public about where they should or should not buy a new dog from. These
recommendations followed scandalous reports in the '70's about the
neglect and abuse of puppies in so-called "puppy farms". As a result
many countries (including the UK) have now introduced legislation to control
establishments involved in the breeding
of dogs and also establishments selling
If you are thinking
about buying a dog or puppy the first thing to do is to realise the commitment
you are going to have to make to look after it properly...to quote the
National Canine Defence League in the UK - "A dog is for LIFE not just
for Christmas". See Provet's section on What
type of dog should I get ?
are several possible places you can get a new puppy or an adult dog from :
- A neighbour, relative or friend - good idea
as you probably know a lot about the background conditions and care of the
animal. BUT see Guidelines below
- A registered breeder - generally a good
idea - if anyone knows how to breed and rear a puppy properly a
registered breeder should. Still, see Guidelines below
- An unregistered breeder - careful -
do they really know what they are doing ? Are they just in it for the
money. See Guidelines below.
- A pet shop (small private concern) - not a
bad idea if the puppy has genuinely come from a good source and the pet
shop is clean, well run and practices good basic hygiene - see Guidelines
- A pet store (large chain) - not a bad idea
if the Pet Store is well run, clean, practices good hygiene and they
can give assurances about the origin of the animal. See Guidelines below.
- An animal rescue/welfare society. Seems
like a good idea because you can "save" a poor unwanted soul
which might be "put down" if it isn't claimed. Seems like a good
idea because you can give a poor unwanted animal a nice home and the
tender loving care that it hasn't had before. BE CAREFUL. Although
millions of dogs are re-housed from such facilities every year, and
millions of owners are happy with their new companions ... the rescue
societies can not often guarantee the origins of the animals, nor their
health status, nor their behavioural traits. You can inherit a BIG problem
by adopting a stray animal. See the Guidelines below
- A stray you found on the street. NO. NEVER
adopt a stray that you find on the street. You should report a stray dog
to the local Police, Dog Warden or Animal Rescue/Welfare Association. Dogs
are legal entities and a "stray" may have a conscientious owner
who is desperate to get their pet back. If it is a genuine stray you may
be able to adopt it after efforts to find the owner have failed. BUT see
the Guidelines below.
Here are some Guidelines to follow before you buy a puppy or
an adult dog. As a general rule you should buy a puppy unless you are prepared
to try to change existing behavioural traits that adult dogs usually have.
you follow these Guidelines you should reduce the chances of disappointment
with your new companion.
a) Consider your situation first
- Do not buy a new dog unless you are sure that the one you get will suit
your life style, that you can afford to look after it properly, and
that you have the time to commit to it. See "What
type of dog should I get ?"
- NEVER buy on impulse - for example, when you see a miserable puppy in a
shop window don't rush in and buy it.
- Can you afford to look after a dog properly ?
- Have you got the time to look after a dog properly ?
b) The premises
It is important to be satisfied about the health standards of the
establishment that you are buying the dog from :
- The most important single Guideline is this : Whenever possible buy from
a source that has been recommended to you by an independent person - a
friend, neighbour, or member of the family. Someone whose judgment you can
- Satisfy yourself that the premises are clean and tidy. Are the
animal's kennels, cages, or pens clean? Ask to inspect "behind the
- Are the animals themselves clean ?
- Is there fresh, clean water available ?
- Are animals from different sources kept separately (advisable) or are
they mixed together (not desirable as this increases the likelihood of
exposure to disease) ?
- If you have not been given a personal recommendation about the
establishment - ask them to give you the names of three reference sites
where you will get a positive endorsement.
- Satisfy yourself that the establishment is a registered facility and
that it satisfies all local registration requirements.Ask to see their
Certificates of Registration.
c) The animal
Buying a sick animal is the worst possible start for you and for your new
companion. There are plenty of healthy dogs looking for a new home. Think
THREE times about the possible consequences before you commit to buying a pet
that is ill. This is particularly true if you are going to introduce the
animal into a household with young children. They will be heartbroken if you
have to take the animal back because of illness or bad behaviour.
- Never buy a dog that looks ill, or severely underweight or overweight.
- Insist that the vendor has the dog checked and gets a clean bill of
health from a veterinarian before you buy it
- Whether buying a new puppy or an adult dog make sure :
a) It has been recently wormed
b) It's current vaccination status is up
c) It has been treated for fleas and other ectoparasites
(eg ticks or lice)
d) Adult dogs should be properly house-trained and have no serious
behavioural traits such as aggression or destructive behaviour.
The vendor should be able to provide certificates and other documentation
to prove that everything has been done properly.
WHEN IN DOUBT - DO NOT BUY !