A puppy-buyer's guide to getting a new dog

by Sally Blundell / 21 January, 2018
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Just saying “oh, how adorable” is not all you need to do before taking on a new dog.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association recommends the following guidelines for those looking to buy a dog:

• Consider adopting rather than buying. A large number of healthy puppies and dogs need a home.

• Don’t support puppy farms. Even if you feel sorry for the puppy (and you will), supporting unethical breeders will only encourage more.

• Visit the breeding facility. It should be clean, and the puppy should have the opportunity to mix with animals and people and be fed adequate amounts of nutritious food.

• Puppies must be at least eight weeks old before they are released to their new owners. For smaller-breed puppies, 10 weeks is preferred.

• Puppies must be in good health. A responsible breeder will have had them checked by a veterinarian for any congenital defects, and puppies should be on regular parasite control and vaccination programmes.

• Don’t support breeders who produce puppies with severely exaggerated features, such as short skulls and excessive skin, that may compromise welfare. If you’re buying a dog with such features, choose a breeder who is trying to breed away from these features.

• Ask about the health history of the parents – be wary if they have needed correctional surgery to enable them to breathe comfortably, correct eyelid issues or walk normally.

• Support breeders who are members of Dogs NZ and participate in their screening programmes.

• Avoid buying puppies produced from mating closely related dogs.

• Only source puppies from bitches who were between one and six years old when they were mated.

• Don’t support breeders who subject their bitches to more than two caesarean sections.

This article was first published in the January 13, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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