Now you’ve ensured you’re ready for the demands of raising a puppy, the obvious next step is getting one! The process of getting a puppy can differ in several ways, but the initial question is often the same – rescue/adopt or buy from a breeder?
Rescuing a dog
It’s often said by many people that they would rather give a good home to an existing animal than to buy one fresh from a litter – some feel guilty about splitting a pup from their brothers and sisters while others feel like they would be doing more good through adoption.
And to be clear, adopting a dog from a shelter absolutely is a positive thing. Dog Charities like Dogs Trust can receive no government funding, relying entirely on donations which can lead to stretching of resources quite thinly at times and places like Battersea Dogs Home do vital rehabilitation work and animal welfare work that it is always good to support.
But this route has complications that it is important to be aware of and once again, while we stress that it is a good thing to give a dog with a hard past a loving home, it’s only good if you’re ready to deal with that and in many cases this is not the route to go if you are a new dog owner.
The sad truth is the hard pasts these animals have been through can, in many ways, leave their mark in ways you might next expect, leading your dog to be anxious, guarded or even potentially aggressive. This is more prevalent in dogs that suffered for a long time and so would be less so in puppies, but it’s important to be aware that puppies are at a vital stage in their socialization so will still be affected strongly by experiences around them. These issues take time, understanding and resolve to correct and in some cases can never be fully overcome. Without the right knowledge or access to training, you may unknowingly worsen or compound the struggles your pup would face.
Due to this, in many cases, unless the animals are in rescue due to abandonment at birth, we would advise new puppy owners to avoid adopting rescues with hard pasts.
If however you do feel experienced enough to offer a safe and loving home to a dog who desperately needs it, a list of rescues can be found via the kennel club here Find a puppy | The Kennel Club
Going to a breeder
While many decry it as expensive, a breeder is often a safer option for a new puppy owner. A reputable breeder should be able to furnish you with all the information you need with regards to the pet including a complete medical history. Your experience of visiting a breeder should be a positive one and if you have any reservations about them, do not buy from them.
If you think that a breeder may be a puppy farmer, or is breeding irresponsibly, then never purchase a puppy from them, even if you think you are rescuing the puppy. The puppy may be better off going home with you, but by giving the "breeder" money you are ensuring that other puppies will suffer in horrible and unethical conditions.
The health of the pups should always be your primary concern and among the first things you check/ask. Any worthwhile breeder should pass all of these with flying colours.
Your breeder should also provide you with legal documents, information regarding previous vet visits and general information with regards to looking after the puppy in general. You should confirm this will be provided before paying for your pup.
These should include:
- A contract of sale containing information about the puppy, as well as both yours and the breeder's details. It should also contain details of warranty or health claims made by the breeder, and any responsibilities or agreements that you make to the breeder.
- If the dog is advertised as registered with The Kennel Club, you should ensure that you take receipt of the registration certificate from The Kennel Club. This will contain information and options on how you can transfer the ownership into your name.
- Your puppy’s pedigree (family tree)
- Details about your puppy’s microchip
- Information about your puppy’s vaccination and worming treatments
- Copies of health certificates regarding the puppy's mother and father
- Insurance details if the pet is insured
The best breeders will also provide
To find a list of reputable breeders, kennel club offers a fantastic resource here to allow you to search by location Find a Kennel Club Assured Breeder | The Kennel Club
What to ask of a breeder
It is a good idea to bring a checklist with you of questions to ask a breeder if you want to test their quality. A breeder should answer all of these. Some good questions to ask:
Did they breed the puppy themselves?, How many puppies are there and how old are they? Ask to see them when you collect and check the numbers are accurate.
Will you be able to see where they were bred?
Will you be able to see the mum? How old is she and how many litters has she had? Can you see the father? What are the mother and father’s temperament like?
If you have children – have the puppies been seen by other children? How have the puppies been socialised? What does the breeder intend to expose them to before you get them?
Was the birth natural or was a caesarean section required? If a c-section was required, have they had one before and how many times?
Have the puppies had any health problems? Have they been checked for inherited conditions?
What is the puppy’s inbreeding coefficient?
Can you have the registration details of the mother and father?
Will the pups be fully wormed and jabbed before you collect them?
Can the puppy be returned if there are any problems?
At what age will the puppy be microchipped?
At what age will the puppy be allowed to come home with you?
If you’d like to breed from the puppy once they are old enough – will there be any breeding restrictions in the contract?
These are just some of the questions to make sure you ask when you visit the breeder to ensure a good experience. If they are unable or unwilling to answer these questions do not buy from them.
With this advice, we wish you a very successful puppy buying experience.
The Bounders Hound Says:
Always do your research on a breeder before buying from them.
Never feel pressured into buying a dog if you’re unhappy – you can always just walk away
Dogs are wonderful animals and owning one can be an absolute delight – a friend their whole life, a loyal companion, and a member of the family, despite the difference in species.
Many people choose to get their dogs as puppies and this has many benefits – you get to be there to ensure your pet has the best formative years you can, you can be absolutely sure it’s had treatment when it needs it and, of course, you hopefully get even more time to spend with your pet.
But owning any animal, including a puppy is a big decision.
According to the Kennel Club, 10% of puppies are bought as impulse purchases and 40% are bought just because of the way they look – while these may seem minor this can easily lead to people taking on animals they aren’t prepared for. Puppies are adorable, but many grow and develop in ways that might not seem obvious to the inexperienced.
In Kennel Club’s study, only 10% reported that they bought a puppy after checking that it suited their lifestyle. This is in fact the most important thing to consider and so we at Bounders are compiling information to help you make the right decision for you and for your future pets, starting with this fundamental question:
aM i READY FOR A PUPPY?
It can be easy to be swayed by the natural sweetness of a puppy and think you can ‘learn on the job’ after all, it’s what many do as first time parents, but that falls flat – a parent can have a rough idea of how another human will react to certain stimulus, a parent can have an idea of roughly what sort of capabilities a human will have and if needed can reach out to their other relatives who have done it before – none of these are a guarantee with a puppy! Like human babies, puppies require commitment and dedication, but unlike with our own young, your pet will require your care their entire life, which in some cases could be up to 15 or 20 years.
This should be your first concern – are you certain you’ll be fit enough to handle the demands of the dog you’re taking on within that time frame? Puppies have boundless energy, so if you are older yourself, suffer from unfortunate medical issues and are unable to rely on relatives to keep your dog exercised and entertained, then it may be worth considering finding an older dog instead.
In addition to health, there is the cost – owning any pet requires investment and dogs are by no means cheap. To properly look after a puppy, you should provide:
Likewise, you’ll need to consider the space available to you in regards to if you can truly accommodate a large dog – people in small urban homes, flats and people lacking gardens should absolutely avoid large dogs as they will quickly find themselves lacking the space to move around comfortably and to exercise as much as they need when they grow.
A good resource to use in order to ensure the best breed for you is the A-Z listing of dog breeds provided by the kennel club here - Breeds A to Z | The Kennel Club - which will provide you with vital information concerning the characteristics and needs for the breed you’re interested in.
A puppy is a long commitment, both in time and energy and while rewarding, it’s important to be ready before you get one. If you’re not quite there yet, don’t panic! This doesn’t mean you can never get a dog, only that you’re not ready for one at the moment – this is a good thing to recognise and acknowledge. It shows you’re truly concerned about your pet’s wellbeing!
If you’re not ready for a puppy, we wish you find yourself ready soon.
If you are certain you are ready for a puppy, join us in our next blog post to find out how to go about getting one!
The Bounders Hound Says:
Always research the breed you intend to buy before doing so, to make sure they’re a fit for you
While we all love to share things with our pets, some treats that we love are sadly not as enjoyable for our pets.
Here is a list of some of the most common things that should not be given to your dog
Grapes and raisins
- Highly toxic and can cause severe kidney damage
- You may notice diarrhea, seizures, tiredness, weakness, loss of appetite
- Contact your vet immediately if any of these symptoms occur
- Do not allow them to eat whole avocado
- The stones contain persin, which is toxic to dogs
- Causes vomiting and diarrhea
- Wild mushrooms are toxic
- Can cause severe allergic reactions
- Potentially fatal
Onions, garlic, chives and leeks
These are all part of the same group of plants (Allium) and are unsafe to give to dogs as they can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain
- Contains caffeine and theobromine, both toxic to dogs
- The darker the chocolate, the higher the risk
- Smaller dogs are more at risk
- Cannot be metabolised by dogs
- Can be toxic if ingested
- Can cause lethargy, breathing problems and dangerously low temperatures in dogs
The Bounders Hound says
Always do your research on any item before giving it to your dog or any other pet
Make sure that you keep track of what you've fed your dog, in case you need to inform a vet
Fruit and Veg are great additions to your dogs diet – not only are they delicious, but they're as good for them as they are for us! - Though not all of them!
With this handy guide, we'll show you a few delicious common treats that are perfectly safe to give your pet!
- Gives Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Dietary Fibre
- Helps clean your dogs teeth
- Helps to freshen their breath
- Gives Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese
- Supports the immune system
- Particularly delicious to many dogs
- Safe in moderation, but not the peel
- Great source of vitamin c and helps fight toxic substances in the digestive system
- Always be aware of the extra sugar and calories oranges will give
- Safe to eat, but not the leaves or stems
- Avoid young, green tomatoes
- If any of the above are consumed, keep watch for tomatine poisoning
- Rich in Protein, Vitamins A, B1, B6, C and K, Minerals and Dietary Fibre
- Easy to feed
- Can be steamed or frozen
- Green Beans are safe, but lead to flatulence
- Very high in fibre
- Can be chopped, steamed or even served raw
- Natural dental stick
- High in fibre
- Low in calories
- Good source of potassium and carbohydrates
- Cooked potato is safe to give your dog
- Must be cooked plain and have no green skin
- Tasty and healthy
- Good to the dogs skin
- Can cause flatulence
- Good source of potassium
- Can be cooled as a soothing snack
- Soft to the jaw
- One of the best dietary sources of Vitamin A and are also rich in Fibre, Vitamin C and B6, Potassium, Calcium and Iron
- Best served in small amounts
- Can be boiled or steamed
The Bounders Hound Says
- Always make sure the food you give your dog is fresh and clean and give them the treat in moderation
- If in doubt, don't risk giving your dog anything that isn't specifically designed for them