Welcoming a new puppy into your home is undoubtedly very exciting, but it can also be overwhelmingly stressful. Trust me, I know. Think sleepless nights, chewed slippers and the mind-scrambling phenomena that is house-training. It’s an awful lot of work, but also infinitely rewarding.
Choosing a puppy doesn’t need to be stressful.
I’m hoping I can maybe make actually choosing a puppy a bit easier for you. The important thing to remember is that you’re looking for a healthy, happy puppy with a well-balanced temperament. This will make it easier for you in the long run, I promise.
When choosing a new puppy, it’s really important that you get to see the mother dog with the litter. This is because puppies which originate from puppy farms are usually sold from people’s houses and the dam is often not there to be viewed. You don’t want to be buying a farmed puppy, that’s for sure. Puppies which come from puppy farms often have very serious health conditions and have usually had a very poor start in life. Buying a puppy from a puppy farm only fuels the demand for more puppies, and so they continue to breed more.
The importance of good health.
It’s also really important to look at the overall health of both the mother dog and the litter. You probably won’t get to interact with the mother dog much, but it’s good to take a look at her and how comfortable she looks. Check the puppies’ teeth, ears, eyes and look for any umbilical hernias.
Any responsible and decent breeder will have the puppies’ best interests at heart. This means that the pups will be weaned on a high quality food and will have had their first vaccinations and be wormed. It’s now the law that puppies be microchipped before being sold. Good breeders will make sure that they comply with this.
Many dog breeds suffer from inherited problems which can severely affect the quality of life of the dog. These problems vary from breed to breed, for example labradors can be prone to hip dysplasia and pugs can suffer from pug dog encephalitis (PDE). Responsible breeders try to “breed out” these problems by never breeding a bitch or dog who suffers from the health condition.
A breeder may tell you that they have had the necessary health tests performed on the litter’s sire and dam. If so, make sure you get to see the documentation which proves the parents are clear of inherited diseases. It would be devastating to find, later down the line, that Fido is suffering from an inherited condition which reduces his quality of life.