Buying A Puppy
Summer is the perfect time to welcome a new puppy into the family. It’s an exciting addition but you must remember, your new companion may live with you for up to 16 years.
A dog is a big responsibility and comes with ongoing costs associated with training, feeding and medical care.
Choosing the right breed for your lifestyle
Thoroughly research what type of dog is going to suit your situation. Be honest with yourself about the amount of time you really have to exercise and groom a pet.
Where to get your puppy
Take all measures to ensure that your puppy has been raised in a healthy environment. Nobody wants to buy a pup that has come from a ‘puppy farm’ and the best way to be sure that you are not supporting this industry is to find a reputable welfare organisation or a registered breeder and view the property where the pups were bred. If you buy a puppy on the Internet, you have no idea of the health of the puppy and you may be inadvertently supporting a puppy farm.
How to tell a good breeder
Most people are looking for an indoor family pet, so look for a breeder who allows their puppies to spend substantial time indoors. Socialisation in the early weeks of life is very important and all puppies should have individual time spent with them.
You must be satisfied with the level of cleanliness and health of the dogs or else walk away. The breeder should care about the pup’s welfare and ask you questions to see if you are the right kind of owner for their pup. They should also answer any questions and offer you information about diet, vaccinations, micro-chipping, etc.
A good breeder should provide the history of the puppy, registration papers and any veterinary records associated with inherited disorders. They should also provide references on request and a puppy guarantee.
To find registered breeders, contact Dogs NSW, the controlling body of purebred dog breeding. Once you have found a breeder, it is still important go through the checklist above.
Research the common inherited diseases of your chosen breed. Your vet can advise you and indicate what medical records the breeder should provide.
So-called ‘designer dogs’
These dogs have soared in popularity and include the Maltese Shih Tzu, Spoodle, Cavoodle and Labradoodle. They are essentially a cross between two breeds with the pups usually showing blended characteristics of both parents. Potential owners will need to like the traits and personality of both parent breeds. The breeding of mixed dog breeds is not well regulated – the best thing you can do is visit the property where the pups are raised.
By adopting a puppy from a shelter, you are potentially saving a life and giving a home to an animal in need. The shelter staff should match the right puppy to you. Shelters such as the Animal Welfare League and Monika’s Doggie Rescue health test and assess the behaviour of all of their pups before adopting them out. Pups are vaccinated, micro-chipped, wormed, desexed and registered. Petrescue.com.au has online listings of puppies and adult dogs in need of adoption.
Dr Katrina is the host of Talk To The Animals, an animal behaviour show that airs on Channel 9 every Saturday at 4.30pm. For more pet care advice and pet friendly accommodation options please jump on to Dr Katrina’s fantastic website at www.drkatrina.com.