Anyone who purchases a puppy be it a pure breed dog with a pedigree or a cross breed from a rescue centre needs to know that the puppy is healthy and hopefully does not carry any genetic diseases. Looking into a basket of cute lively puppies your thoughts are not on their healthy future. Handing over cash to the breeder or seller and not doing your research before purchasing could end in heartache when the puppy becomes sick or dies.
How Healthy is my Puppy?
Before you hand over money for the puppy you wish to purchase you must ask certain questions of the breeder or seller. First you need to see the parents of the puppy. Sometimes it is not possible to see the sire as he may live in another part of the country but any honest breeder will have photographs and documents about the dog. You should also be able to contact the owner of the sire. The breeder should have registration papers for the puppy and also be able to show you copies of the dam and sire's health tests that have been done.
Each breed of pedigree dog registered with the Kennel Club has not only a breed standard, that is the blue print of the dog’s conformation and temperament, but also a list of health requirements. If there are any health concerns within that breed the Kennel Club’s Breed Watch section should show this. Different breeds have different health concerns, many are under control but only because breeders and owners have conscientiously scanned and tested stock for years and not bred from dogs that have breed specific health problems. Tests such as hip scoring – a system by which the hips of a dog are x-rayed and the plates inspected and scored for degrees of dysplaysia. The higher the score the worse the condition that could lead to lameness in later life. Other tests could be eye testing, elbow scoring, deafness or heart testing.
Accredited Breeder Scheme
When considering purchasing a pedigree dog never purchase a puppy through free advertisements in newspapers or on websites and definitely not from an advert in a shop window. Even buying a dog from a home or pet breeder can give problems if they have bred indiscriminately from unsound stock. By going through the Kennel Club Accredited Breeder Scheme you will be put in touch with a breeder who has bred following strict guidelines. Purchasing a puppy this way will give you sound stock and a back up service from the breeder throughout its life.
Breed clubs can give you information about breeders that they recommend. Ideally these breeders will be part of the Accredited Breeder Scheme but in some instances may not have joined. By being on a breed club puppy list the club is confirming that they are good breeders so you should be able to buy in safety. Always join your breed club as you will be kept informed of breed news be it health related or simply fun events with your dog.
Buying a puppy from a pet shop whether it is a pedigree dog or not is full of risks. How can you be sure that the papers sold with the dog are true? How do you know the history of the dog, its health or the temperament? Although most pet shops are licensed to sell puppies they should be avoided at all costs.
Rescue and Animal Shelters
It goes without saying that puppies and older dogs bought from rescue shelters will not come with a history of health testing or details of their parents. In this case you are buying blind and must make sure that the rescue agrees to help with any problems that occur when you take on the dog. This could be guidnace and advice or help with veterinary fees. In these days when breeders have to health screen their dogs it is only right that all other sellers of dogs and puppies carry guarantees of healthy futures for their stock as well.