Buying a puppy from a breeder

Buying a puppy from a breeder is no guarantee of long-term health. If you want a particular breed it is essential you follow this advice.

Buying a puppy: the research

It is always a good idea to research not just the breeder but also the breed of dog you’re after before committing to a new puppy. Some breeds are predisposed to diseases like hip dysplasia, retinal degeneration and liver issues, that can cost thousands to treat so you’ll need to know what long-term costs you’re potentially in for before taking that little bundle of joy home.

Ask the breeder about the health of the pup’s parents and ask for their veterinary reports. A good breeder will happily share this information with you. If possible, get to meet the parents.

Check the pup’s vaccination status

Though they should vaccinate at least once before you take their puppies off them, not all breeders do. Ensure your pup has had at the very least it’s first vaccination and that it has been dewormed. Ask for the puppy’s medical records.

Buying a puppy from a healthy litter

It’s essential to know if there were any sick puppies in the litter and what they were sick from. You don’t want to take an apparently healthy puppy home only to  find it has contracted an illness from a sibling and you’re now saddled with the vet’s bill. If there were sick puppies in the litter, ask that your pup be checked over by a vet before you take ownership and ask for the medical report. Also ensure your pup has been fed correctly as nutrition plays a vital role in building a stronger, healthier adult dog.

Is your puppy socialised?

The earlier a puppy is socialised with humans, other dogs and cats, the easier his interactions in your home. A frightened, timid or aggressive dog can be difficult to handle and may require significant time commitments from you to get him right.

While we personally encourage adoption from a reputable shelter as there are so many shelter dogs needing loving homes, if you want that cute Yorkie on your arm or a glistening Golden Retriever to run with you on the beach, then do your research before handing over the money. And whether the dog is a purebred or a mutt, remember that sterilisation and annual vaccinations are an absolute must for all dogs – Dr Esmare van Der Walt, EberVet Pet Clinic, Strand