Buying a puppy is a big decision with far reaching consequences, especially considering that many are now living in to their late teens.
When looking at a prospective puppy a few points need to be taken in to consideration:
- The puppy should be 8 weeks or older and should at least have had it’s first set of vaccinations. It should also have been dewormed at least twice.
- If it is a ‘pure breed’ puppy, many are prone to certain hereditary diseases.
- There are tests specific to the breed that responsible breeders should be performing on the parents and or offspring. For example, Labradors, German Shepherds and many other breeds should be hip and elbow scored for dysplaysia etc. Please ask our veterinary staff about what hereditary diseases pertain to the breed that you may be interested in or use this link to this excellent guide http://www.hsvma.org/assets/pdfs/guide-to-congenital-and-heritable-disorders.pdf
Ask for these certifications on the parents from the breeder. A pedigree does not necessarily mean that the puppy is well bred it just means that you can trace the pup’s ancestry. A very expensive puppy also does not necessarily mean a quality pup.
- Meet the parents of the puppies. They should look in good health and be confident and friendly. The puppies should be well socialised by being in and around the house. Beware of taking a puppy that has been raised in a cage or run with minimal socialisation. Be very wary of buying puppies from petshops or taking delivery of a pup in a car park, as you will not be able to judge the parents, siblings or environment from which the puppy came.
- Consider the dynamics in your already existing pack and try not to have dogs of the same sex and breed or temperament type together as this can cause competition and often resultant aggression. For example rather pair a male Jack Russell and a female Labrador than a male Jack Russell and a male Staffie.
- Consider the expenses, especially in the first year. A large breed pup can cost around R14000 for correct feeding, sterilization, vaccination and parasite control.
- Consider pet insurance. An insured pet allows for you to make medical decisions based on treatment being in the best interest of your pet and at the same time not having the worry of cost clouding your judgement.