Considering a new puppy? There are a few things to consider when you begin your search.
Bringing a puppy into your life is a joyful and rewarding experience, but it comes with significant responsibilities. Responsible puppy acquisition involves more than just choosing a breed or a cute face; it’s about ensuring the well-being of the puppy through all phases of life and supporting ethical practices.
If you and your family feel prepared to take on this new responsibility, there are a few things to think about before beginning your search for the perfect puppy match.
- Always consider adoption first
- If you decide to buy from a breeder, make sure you do so responsibly
- Don’t buy a puppy from a puppy store
What to Think About Before Getting a Puppy
Getting a new puppy is a big deal! There are several things to consider before your search to ensure you and your family are ready for the change and responsibility.
Here is a checklist that will help you determine if you are ready to start your search:
Are you financially capable of taking care of a dog?
- Make sure you can handle the expenses that come with owning a dog — vet bills, insurance, and food just to name a few. Click here for a pet cost calculator that will help you determine the average cost of your desired dog depending on the size and breed.
How often will your dog be left alone?
- Puppies should only be left alone for a few hours, depending on their age — if they’re 3 months, they can only be left alone for 3 hours, 4 months at 4 hours, 5 months at 5 hours, and so on. It’s important to think about where the puppy will be if you are at work or on vacation.
Do you have enough space?
- Depending on the breed, some puppies may eventually need more space. Some dogs will need a larger yard to run around in because exercise is important, too. Puppies are high energy, which means that without enough exercise and playtime, that energy can turn into destructive behavior.
Have you identified which breeds are most suitable for you?
- Different dog breeds require different needs and personalities. Make sure you are fully informed on the breed by researching and speaking with existing owners to get a better understanding of the breed’s needs.
Consider Adoption First
When you feel fully capable of getting a new puppy, it’s time to consider where to start looking.
We always recommend taking a visit to an animal shelter and adopting. Many people believe that they won’t find specific breeds at shelters or through rescues, but we are here to say that breed-specific rescues exist! Many rescues specialize in specific breeds, and they can be a great option if you’re looking for a “designer” dog breed. Adopting can be beneficial for both you and the community. Animal shelters are overcrowded and many dogs are awaiting their forever homes. Local shelters will help you determine if the dog is a good match for you and your family.
Purchasing from a Breeder
If you decide to purchase a puppy through a breeder, there are ways to find responsible breeders. You mustn’t fall victim to purchasing from a puppy mill. Never trust terms such as “home-raised” or “family raised”. You can click here to read more in-depth about puppy mills and how to spot the red flags.
Here are some things to check for before buying from a breeder:
- The breeder does not sell to pet stores-
- Responsible pet breeders do not sell their dogs to pet stores or brokers/middlemen.
- Are you allowed to meet the breeding pet parents and view/tour the home or kennel?
- Responsible breeders should encourage site visits before the adoption.
- The grounds should be well maintained with clean, odorless kennels and exercise areas. Dogs should not be confined in cages for a long time.
- The breeder should encourage you to spend time with one or both of the dog’s parents on your visit. The parents should be friendly and socialize well with both people and other dogs.
- The breeder only has a limited amount of puppies-
- Optimum mating times occur according to natural schedules — Litters are usually born in the Spring and Fall.
- Breeders who constantly have a supply of puppies may be cause for concern.
- The veterinary and health records are provided, and the breeder provides the records upfront.
- A responsible breeder will have a good working relationship with a respected veterinarian who examines each puppy and provides immunizations and parasite control according to medical standards.
- The breeder should readily provide a complete medical record of each pup.
- The breeder checks that they are selling to someone capable of caring for an animal
- Responsible breeders should only sell to people who have been approved as good pet owners. They never sell to pet stores or blindly over the internet.
- They may have questions regarding your ability to care for the dog, how much time you have to spend with them, and where they will fit into your household.
- There is a reasonable return policy
- If medical problems are diagnosed, the breeder should readily take the pup back and provide a full refund.
- Responsible breeders will request that you give them the first option to re-home the dog if you find that circumstances are preventing you from keeping the puppy.
Don’t feel pressured into buying a puppy, especially if you suspect something is wrong.
Responsible puppy acquisition is an important decision that impacts both your life and the life of the puppy. Adoption is usually the preferred option because it saves lives and helps curb unethical breeding practices. However, if you must purchase a dog, make sure to choose a responsible breeder who prioritizes the well-being of their dogs and adheres to ethical breeding standards. Remember that a loving and committed owner is what truly makes a happy and healthy puppy.