8 questions to ask when buying a puppy
If you’re getting a dog you’ll want to ask breeders lots of questions to help you find your perfect family pet. You’ll also want to gather lots of information to help you care for your dog in their new home. Here’s what questions to ask when buying a puppy.
Questions to ask a dog breeder
1. Where have the puppies been living?
Find out where the puppies were born and have been living. Puppies that have been used to living in a busy family household are much more suited to life as a family pet. A puppy that has been living in a barn or outbuilding is more likely to be anxious and develop behavioural problems.
2. What experiences have the puppies had as part of their socialisation programme?
A good breeder will start to socialise puppies from when they are very young. Between the ages of 4-16 weeks puppies are at their most receptive to and least likely to become anxious about new experiences. A puppy that has been bred in a busy household environment will have been exposed to all sorts of household sounds and items from the day they were born, both indoors and outdoors. A good breeder will also make sure their puppies are used to being handled, brushed and having their paws and ears touched. They will also introduce them to different people so they don’t just get used to one person.
3. Have the puppies been wormed?
A good breeder will make sure that their puppies have been wormed before they got to their new homes. You will need to find out what worming treatment your puppy has been given and on what dates. If the puppies have not been wormed, this is not a good sign and you should walk away.
4. Will the puppies be microchipped?
It is requirement by law for puppies to be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks old, and before they go to their new homes. You will be given paperwork with your puppy’s microchip details, which will include information about how to change the information so that you are listed as the registered owner. Never buy a puppy that has not been microchipped.
5. Have the puppies been tested for any genetic disorders common in the breed?
Some breeds of dogs are at risk of certain genetic disorders. This includes hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye disease, chiari malformation and syringomyelia. Do your research first to find out if your choice of breed is at risk of genetic disorders. If so, ask the breeder about what tests have been carried out on the parents and the puppies.
Questions to ask breeder before picking up puppy
6. Has the puppy been vaccinated?
Some breeders vaccinate their puppies before they leave for their new homes. If this is the case you will be given a vaccination record. If your puppy has not been vaccinated, you will need to arrange an appointment with your vet for your puppy to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Most puppies have their first vaccinations when they are eight weeks old and the second vaccination two to four weeks later. The reason they are vaccinated is to protect them from infectious diseases.
7. What has the puppy been fed and how often are they fed?
Puppies’ tummies can become easily upset if they have a sudden change in diet. For this reason, it’s a good idea to find out what type of food the breeder has been feeding your puppy and how many times a day they have been fed. It’s fine to change your puppy’s diet but the change should be introduced gradually, over a few days. A good breeder will give you several days’ supply of food to take home with your puppy.
8. Has the puppy started toilet training?
Some breeders will start toilet training their puppies before they leave the litter. They may use puppy pads or they may have started to teach them to go outdoors. You will then need to continue your puppy’s toilet training. Be prepared for this to take some time. Many puppies will be six months old before they are fully toilet trained and no longer have accidents in the house, day or night.
Read Nicolette’s story: Toilet training tips – ‘two pees and a poo’
Use the Puppy Contract
These questions are included in the Puppy Contract. It is a legally binding contract of sale between you and the breeder. A good breeder will be happy to use it.
Sign up for our Getting a Puppy e-learning course
Thinking about getting a puppy? In this free e-learning course you will learn about how to choose the right breed or type for your lifestyle, and buy or adopt a puppy safely, how to prepare for your puppy’s arrival and what you can expect in the first year with your new puppy. The course will take just two to three hours to complete, which can be carried out at your own pace, and is suitable for all the family.