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What to Look For When Buying a New Puppy

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

So, I was doing some reading the other day and I came across some stories regarding puppy mills. A problem that is widespread in the US and basically unsupervised. There is even a “Horrible Hundred list”!

This made me want to post some information about what to look for when you are searching for a new puppy.

If you are buying from a pet store - chances are, you are supporting a puppy mill, and there is a high probability that you will incur further vet expenses for a puppy purchased from a pet store (worms, genetic defects, lack of proper nutrition, leading to health and growth problems, lack of socialization which can lead to lifelong behavior problems) Phew, what a list! I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I am ready to deal with all that, plus house training all through the night, along with just normal vaccines and vet care!! What are they doing at those puppy mills!


What to be aware of:

If you find a breeder and he/she will not let you know who their vet is,this is a red flag, a reputable breeder will be happy to share relevant information with you, they will want you to know how much they care for their puppies, and the integrity of their line.

The seller will not meet with you at his location and does not offer any in depth information on the puppy, also does not inquire much of anything from you, other than Payment. A breeder should care deeply for where their puppies go, wanting them to go to a safe and loving home. He/she will want to make sure there is a good match between the new owner and the puppy they are about to adopt.

Are you able to see or meet the parents of the puppy? If not this could be another red flag. Breeders should be able to provide you with information on the parents, pictures, paperwork, etc. Most will have at least one of the parents on site, or be able to arrange a meet if you ask.

The seller does not require spaying or neutering, and does not seem concerned if you have it done or not.

Constantly has ads in newspapers or internet, always has puppies

No return policy. (reputable breeders want everyone to be happy and do not want their dogs to end up in shelters, so usually there will be some arrangement if the puppy is not a match, or circumstances with adopting family changes)

If you are at a location and you feel uneasy or find the puppy or dogs surroundings are unclean or unsafe, there is no reason to purchase a puppy from them. We should have some instincts as to what a healthy animal looks like, clean fur, clear eyes, a good healthy weight (not overweight, this signifies not enough exercise) friendly, not fearful.

We also have a responsibility to do research. Do not buy on impulse! You will end up paying in the long run. Get in touch with some breeders, have conversations, check out their websites. The breeder should be passionate about their breed and be very knowledgeable about their dogs and puppies - and dog health in general. They should be happy to speak with you and welcome you to visit (it is realistic to have to set up an appointment)

Great breeders will also make sure to not breed their lines so closely and will watch for genetic issues and try to minimize their occurrence. Some breeds have been so over bred, genetic defects cannot be removed - Golden retrievers - hip dysplasia and allergies and cancer, German shepherds, hip dysplasia, shar pei - skin and eye issues, the list goes on, just be aware of what to look for in your breed and have realistic expectations!

If we continue to support these puppy mills by purchasing through a pet store or some other mass puppy selling venue, we will never make a dent in the shelter problem. Animal cruelty runs rampant in these mills, I will not post the atrocities, you can look them up yourself, I can't bear to type them out. USDA and APHIS are constantly working to make and update laws regarding the treatment of animals, but they just can’t keep up. Most states require disclosure, USDA keeps records of licensed breeders, their website is a good place to start. You will need the breeder name and license number. You will find inspections and violations reported there.

So please, take some time, plan ahead, and purchase from a reputable breeder or adopt from a shelter! Let’s try to get rid of the demand for puppies that come from puppy mills.

Need help finding the right puppy? Send me an email, I will try to help you choose wisely for your personality and family situation.

Wishing you cold noses, puppy kisses, and wagging tails!

Till next time!

Positively Puppy


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