For the record, the first places anybody should be looking for a puppy for the family this holiday season are shelters overflowing with puppies and dogs desperately in need of homes. Thus, not only would you be providing your family the blessing of a new family pet, you would be providing an innocent creature with the blessing of life and a love it has never known. There are also pure breed rescues where people often get lucky in finding a desired pure bred dog in need of a home. Pet Finder is a good source to find a desired breed in need of a forever home.
So bent on having a pure breed that this is not enough to pull at the heart strings and change your mind? Fair enough. Please read on and let me help you to not only find a healthy puppy but to help you to not support the cruel puppy mill industry. A lot of people consider puppy mill puppies only to be sold in pet stores, but this is not the case. To be sure, pet store puppies usually come from large scale breeding operations so it is a no brainer to avoid them.
However, many “back yard breeders” are just as cruel if not worse than large scale breeding operations. Rather than having many breeding dogs living in unhygienic conditions with no health care often housed outside with no protection from the elements, they have a few dogs kept in similar conditions.
Many puppy mill operations have moved online where they have professional looking websites and market their “champion” pedigrees and pictures of their breeding operation that show the cleanest and happiest breeding dogs prancing around beautiful fields. Unfortunately, the reality is most likely far from the truth.
Even with breeding dogs kept under humane circumstances in loving homes, there are hobby breeders that ignorantly do not have pre-breeding examinations for their breeding dogs prior to breeding, do any genetic testing or screening to ensure they are not knowingly passing along congenital or genetic disease to the offspring, or sell you the dogs with no state health certificate for sale signed by a licensed veterinarian that has examined the puppy (which is illegal). Thus, because the puppy’s parents seem happy and loved, prospective puppy buyers are lured into purchasing what often amount to be puppies that as adults will be riddled with any number of preventable congenital and genetic diseases.
Here are some tips to ensure that you are purchasing a health puppy whose parents are not rotting in squalor in a backyard breeding or large scale puppy mill operation.
1.) Do not purchase online. ESPECIALLY avoid Craigslist like the plague for purchasing puppies.
2.) Do not purchase from any breeder that refuses to let you see their breeding operation where the puppies are kept. They will often use the excuse that they breed from home and do not like to have customers they do not know visiting their home. B.S.!
3.) Insist on meeting the parents not just the puppies.
4.) Do not be impressed by AKC pedigree papers. They are as worthless as the AKC itself.
5.) Do not purchase a puppy that does not have a state veterinary certificate for sale signed by a licensed veterinarian.
6.) Become educated about common genetic diseases that affect your desired breed and ask for documentation that mother and sire have had all pertinent testing. You can get this information from reputable national breed clubs for your desired breed. Below is a national Labrador Retriever Club as an example:
7.) Be very wary of purchasing a puppy from the Amish. Se related article below:
I will leave you with one last plug to let go of the need to buy a pure bred puppy. There are literally thousands of dogs deserving of loving homes that you can adopt to enhance your family this holiday season for free, with full complement of vaccines and spayed or neutered. Its a win-win for all parties involved!
Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality throughout a number of subjects and platforms. In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport. He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.