Thinking of buying a puppy? The Dogs Trust have some handy hints…
* Make sure that you see the puppy interacting with its mother, and if possible visit the father too.
* A puppy should not leave its mother before it is eight weeks old.
* You should have easy access to the puppies and be able to handle them. Do not allow the breeder to show you just one puppy.
* Make at least two visits to the breeder to view the puppies before the final collection.
* Make sure that you also see the puppy with the rest of the litter.
* If you are unsure about buying the right puppy, make enquiries with the local vet to see if he would be willing to attend the viewing to check the puppy for any visible health problems – this could save money and upset in the long term.
* If possible, request a written agreement that purchase is subject to a satisfactory examination by your vet within 48 hours of purchase.
* Check that the puppies have regular access to human contact, ideally with more than one person. It is better if the puppies are being raised in a home environment rather than in a kennel, as this will help them get used to the everyday sights and sounds of the home.
* Check that the facilities are clean and that the puppies appear alert and healthy.
* Ensure all the relevant paperwork is available for inspection when you visit the puppy. This should include: a vaccination certificate, a health-check report from a vet and Pedigree/Kennel Club certificate.
* Check to see if the puppy has been regularly wormed and vaccinated. Some breeders will have the puppy vaccinated at eight weeks of age before releasing it to its new home.
* Remember that a Kennel Club registration/pedigree does not guarantee a perfect puppy. It is up to you to carry out the appropriate checks.
* Ask if the puppy will be covered by insurance for any illness during the first six weeks in your care (most good breeders subscribe to this scheme).
* Ask the breeder questions about the puppy’s feeding regime. Good breeders will supply you with a diet plan.
* Check the puppy has no discharge from its eyes or nose and that there are no sores, bald patches or scabs on the skin.
* Make sure that the puppy is alert and responsive to sounds and is showing no obvious signs of illness, such as coughing.
* If a puppy appears unwell on collection, do not take it; arrange with the breeder to return another day. If you have any doubts, choose another breeder.