This year more than ever before we have seen a surge in new puppy owners who have paid significant amounts of money for their beautiful new puppy, but have come away from the breeder with little or no information about the puppy, its health background or feeding schedule. Here are our 10 most important questions to ask on collection day.
Date Of Birth - you might already know your puppies date of birth, but if you don't its important to ask. It is ILLEGAL to sell a puppy under 8 weeks old.
Where's Mum? - ALWAYS ask to see your puppy with its Mother before you take it home. Look at how the mother dog interacts with the puppies, is she in good condition, is she well groomed, does she look healthy?
Microchips - is your puppy microchipped? By law all puppies OVER the age of 8 weeks MUST be microchipped. If the breeder tells you the puppy is chipped they must provide proof of the chip number and database so you can register your own details once you get your puppy home. The chip serial number will be up to 15 characters long including numbers and letters.
Vaccines - has your puppy been vaccinated? If your breeder tells you that your puppy has had their first set of injections you must ask for proof. Ask the date, veterinary practice details and ask for the vaccination certificate with the vaccine bottle serial number sticker on. Without this information you may face issues obtaining the second vaccines or putting your dog into boarding, daycare or kennels at a later date.
Health - has your puppy been healthy since birth? Have they noticed any issues with feeding, toilets, mobility, eyes, vision, deafness? Observe your puppy moving round at 8 weeks they should be fully mobile, their eyes should be fully open. Pick your puppy up. Feel for lumps and bumps, see if their eyes follow your finger, do they respond to a sound or your voice, count their toes, check inside the ears for signs of infection, are their bottoms clean. Have they seen a vet? If they have ask when and why?
Genetic Testing - if your puppy is being advertised as already been tested for various genetic disorders this will usually increase the price. Ask to see the puppies genetic profile. Genetic testing can determine the final colouring of your puppies coat & potential future health issues. DNA testing verifies the breed. Tests of these types cost between £50-£150 but can increase the sale price of the puppy by £1000's.
Flea & Worm Treatments - ask when your puppy was wormed and flea treated. Ask the brand the breeder used and the next due dates.
Weaning - check the puppy is fully weaned. At 8 weeks they should be eating a complete puppy food and no longer suckling from Mum. A healthy puppy should not need any milk substitutes after leaving their Mother.
Diet - possibly one of the most important questions to ask is what your puppy is being fed. Your puppy should be eating dog food. NOT HUMAN FOOD. Your puppy should not have been weaned onto scrambled eggs, rice pudding and Weetabix. They should have been weaned onto a good quality complete puppy food, either wet, dry or raw. The Mother should have been eating the same brand/type of puppy food during her pregnancy for added nutrition. You MUST ask the brand, flavour and portion size and at the very least a breeder expecting you to pay £1000's for a puppy should be able to provide you with a weeks supply of food. You can make decisions about changing the diet in the weeks after you bring puppy home but its best to stick with what they know for now.
Routine - your puppy faces some big changes. Ask what their normal routine is. What time do they get up and go to bed? What times are their meals? Sticking to their usual routine for a few days can help especially for settling your puppy overnight.
Do not be afraid to ask lots of questions. Do not feel cheeky or that you are wasting the breeders time. A good breeder will have all this information ready for you with a puppy handover pack. A good breeder will be there for you to call up and ask questions and advice after you take your puppy home. A good breeder that wants their puppy to go to a good home will be glad that you have asked these questions.
Its not unusual for us to speak to customers who have paid up to £3000 for a puppy and they have walked away from the collection with nothing but the puppy. The breeder goes off the grid and the new family are left in the lurch.
In the New Year we will be starting a series of blogs and social media posts about nutrition and feeding starting with all things puppy.