Monthly Archives: March 2011

Before you get that dog. Vets advice


Purebreed puppy or adoption from a shelter?

Attitude to neutering pets has gradually improved in Ireland however there are still vast numbers of unwanted dogs in pounds and rescue centres throughout the country.

If you are looking for a dog the first piece of advice I would give is to consider adopting a dog if at all possible. A good place to start is the Dog’s Trust rehoming centre.

I know that many people have there heart set on a particular breed and are looking to buy a pure bred puppy.

If you are going down the purebred route please read the following advice carefully.

Common Misconception

1. A common misconception is Purebreed dogs are “better” or more likely to be healthy than a cross breed. The opposite is true. Crossbreed dogs have a larger gene pool and are less likely to suffer from hereditary problems. Years of irresponsible commercial breeding means that many of the more popular breeds in this country are plagued by genetic/hereditary problems.  Also kennel club papers are no guarantee of good health. Also one distant relative winning “best in show” does not guarantee your puppies good health!

2. Do your research. One benefit of a buying a purebreed dog is you can have a good idea how it will look and behave when it is older. Pick a dog that suits your lifestyle. Many people select a dog purely on looks but don’t consider its behaviour. An example of this is the increasingly popular Siberian Husky. This was bred to pull heavy loads long distances through difficult conditions. Don’t get one unless you are planning to walk at least two hours a day. The same can be said for many other working breeds.

3. Be aware of problems within the breed. Many breeds have known problems, try to find a breeder who is aware of the problems within the breed and is actively trying to breed puppies without these problems. Breeders like this are thin on the ground but there are some really dedicated people out there. Make sure you yourself have a good knowledge of the breed you are about to purchase – this way you can spot the dedicated breeder.

4. Go and see the puppies parents and conditions where the puppy was raised. A dog will be part of your family for anywhere up to the next 18 years. It amazes me how many people agree to meet a breeder at a petrol station half way between them and the breeder to save themselves a  drive. Most puppy farmers will offer to meet you half way. People who really care about their pups will usually want to know a little about where their pup is going to. They might even want to meet you more than once. For a really good quality dog you may even have to go on a waiting list.

5. Do not buy a puppy because it is in poor conditions and you feel sorry for it.

People often purchase a puppy despite finding it in poor condition. They will hand over money to a breeder because they want to “save” the puppy. While they are well intentioned they often end up with a problem dog.  Also the puppy farmer will quickly replace this puppy with another. If you are not happy walk away.

6. Ensure your new puppy has had its first set of vaccinations and a veterinary exam.

A good breeder will have no problem having their puppies checked over by a vet before selling them.  Vaccinations done at the correct time by a vet will usually mean that you can get your puppy out sooner. You will almost always have to bring the puppy to your own vet for further vaccinations after you buy.

7. Get your puppy to a vet as soon as possible after purchase.

I would have a vet check your puppy within 48 hours of purchase and make sure there are no visible health deficits. Also have the vet check the vaccination details and microchip details (if the pup has already had a microchip implanted).  A good breeder agree to take a puppy back if you are not happy. Do not accept an unhealthy pup because you feel sorry for it. It will just result in another unhealthy pup being bred to replace it.

8. Watch out for breeders offering more than one type of dog

This can be a classic sign of a puppy farmer. Also try to get an idea of how many pups your breeder is producing. Usually many bitches producing many pups equals less quality control. Again if you are not happy walk away. Again try to find the person with one or two bitches of a particular breed looking to improve their breed. Avoid people with multiple bitches or those who offer you a choice of breeds.

9. Timing

Timing is important – try to make sure you have some time off work to acclimatise your new puppy. Having said that, depending on the age of your puppy he/she may need to be kept in for a few weeks until vaccination courses are complete. So book your time off for when you will be able to take your puppy out and about with you.

Consider the cost

The purchase price is only the beginning of the cost of your new pet. Other costs you need to calculate are vaccinations, pet insurance, food, leads collars accessories, neutering, fencing, puppy crates, veterinary bills. Most of this will happen in year 1.