What (not) to Look Out for When Buying a Pup

One of my very good clients informed me today that summer is a popular time for families to get new puppies.  This was news to me – I thought that people generally got dogs around Christmas time.  But I was labouring under a misconception.  Summer holidays are actually the times that families feel that they could do with a dog.  The kids are off school, and parents have a little more time.  With this in mind, I would like to offer a few pointers of what to look out for when purchasing a pup.

Firstly, don’t buy a pup in a supermarket car-park late on a Friday night from a bloke who tells you that “you can’t see the Mum”.  You could unwittingly be supporting a puppy farming industry.  This is an industry where bitches are kept in poor conditions and used as breeding machines.  Any reputable breeder should be able to show you the bitch and the hygienic conditions where they are kept.  I have even heard stories of naive buyers turning up at “front” houses which are presented as family homes, but in fact are used only to deceive folks into thinking their new pup comes from a reputable establishment, not a fly-by-night outfit.  A good place to start is to look at the Kennel Club website for a registered breeder:  https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/acbr/Default.aspx

You should always check that a puppy is vaccinated.  Breeders should generally only advertise puppies over 8 weeks of age.  This allows them time to be weaned and given their first vaccination.  This can go a long way towards protecting them for disease.  Always insist on seeing a vaccination card signed by a veterinary surgeon, so you know it is genuine and traceable.  Downe Vets have recently launched a puppy pack which will cover all of your puppy’s routine vaccination needs for a modest sum.  It is excellent value for money and for more information just check out our Facebook page.


Certain breeds are more likely to suffer disease than others.  Before making a purchase it is wise to have a chat with your vet as to the pros and cons of purchasing one breed over another.  The internet or your local library are excellent sources of information.  You should also give some thought to rehoming a dog from the pound.  There are many worthy dogs that could do with a forever home.  They are often already neutered, an added bonus.  Getting a dog is an exciting and personal experience.  If you need any more help, we are here for you at Downe Vets.

A good source of further information on this subject is the NI Direct website: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/buying-dog-and-responsible-dog-ownership

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