“Everyone thinks they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong.” W.R.Purche
So, you’ve been daydreaming about getting a puppy and you’re a first-time dog owner? A new dog is an exciting prospect and a wonderful addition to the family however, it is also one of the biggest commitments you can make in life and its incredibly important that you thoroughly research your decision.
Things To Consider Before Getting a Pup
It may seem blindingly obvious, but do you really want a dog? Pressure from the children or other family members can make you feel guilty and you may convince yourself it will all be fine once the fur baby is with you. Whilst having a family pet can be an enriching addition to life, the flip side is there is a lot of effort, time and patience required. (Particularly in the first few months) I can personally attest as a first-time owner that it is very much like bringing home a new-born baby. In the early stages, your life literally revolves around your puppy’s schedule and their needs come first for those first few weeks. Dogs are a huge responsibility and it’s important to consider the average lifespan can be up to fifteen years. Sadly, many do not undertake adequate research and give up their dogs to shelters when the reality of being a pet owner sinks in.
You also need to consider your home and environment and how much space and outdoor access you have available. All dogs will need at least one walk per day and several toilet trips, so a garden or yard is desirable.
It is tempting to go for looks alone but another common oversight is not considering the breed that is most suitable for you, your family and lifestyle. Think about the size, temperament, energy levels, exercise and grooming requirements of your dog.
Try a dog breed calculator like this one to help get you started.
I’ve mentioned the personal commitment required, but there is also a financial responsibility to factor in. As well as the initial outlay of purchasing your puppy and all the equipment, have you calculated the ongoing spend on nutrition, grooming, dog sitting services, vet bills, insurance, toiletries and poop bags?
Choosing A Reputable Breeder And Avoiding Scammers
So, you’ve taken stock of the realities of owning puppy and weighed up the pros and cons and you’re ready to start your search? Just where do you begin and how do know what red flags to look out for?
Until recently there were no laws against unethical dog breeding standards. In 2020 Lucy’s Law was introduced to only allow the purchase of puppies and kittens exclusively from breeders, rescue or rehoming centres. It is now against the law for “middle men” or “third-parties” to sell.
Still, the scams and puppy farms continue but by taking due diligence, you can avoid getting into an expensive and heart-breaking situation.
What To Avoid
- Do not buy from a pet shop (this would be considered a third party or dealer and likely to be supplied by a puppy farm)
- Never buy from a breeder advertising more than three different breeds
- Avoid breeders who say they have no paperwork or certification and make excuses as to why it is unavailable.
- If the person makes excuses as to why the mother is not available to see, this is a serious concern.
- A breeder who cannot provide you with their license number and has excuses as to why they don’t have one is suspicious.
- Any reputable breeder will show a keen interest in you and your lifestyle and want to make sure you are a responsible, suitable owner. If they do not ask you any questions, this is unusual.
- Another red flag is if the breeder is not willing to take the puppy back should you have a change in circumstances
- If you feel you are being pressured into buying, uneasy or sceptical, walk away.
How To Buy A Puppy
One of the best things you can do is to look at the Kennel Club website and search for reputable assured breeders who have been approved.
Check with the local authority that the breeder is licensed.
Contact And Speak To The Breeder Before Arranging A visit
- Ask if they are the original breeder and were the puppies born in their home
- Can you see the full litter?
- Are you able to see the mother and Father (the father maybe brought in as a stud and not there but it is worth asking)
- What is the mother’s health, age and temperament like?
- Have the mother and father been screened for inherited conditions?
Puppy Questions To Ask
- Have the puppies been weaned, wormed and vaccinated?
- Have there been any signs of illness or health problems?
- How have the puppies been socialised, have they been around children?
- What is the recommended food and timings?
- Has the breeder microchipped the puppy and can they supply you with the paperwork?
Visiting The Puppy
It is a good idea to make more than one visit to the breeder to ensure that you do not buy on impulse and have time to think about your decision.
- Pick up and handle the puppy
- Pay attention to how the puppy interacts with the breeder and if it seems happy and relaxed
- Is it alert and lively?
- Does it have bright clear eyes, healthy coat, damp nose, and clean bottom? (There should be no discharge from the eyes or nose)
- How does the puppy interact with its mother and siblings?
Great So You’ve Decided To Buy, What Next?
At this point, you should have taken time to research, question the breeder and visit your puppy more than once and feel satisfied that you have chosen an ethical breeder with the necessary qualifications.
A deposit is usually requested once the puppies are born and proven to be healthy, never pay a deposit before this point.
Before You Hand Over Your Money Checklist
Have you been given provided with the following:
- Vaccination certificate
- Kennel Club Registration
- Worming record
- Microchip ownership & transfer paperwork
- A written contract agreement
- A stipulation that the puppy can be returned if there is a change of circumstances
- Health and breed certificates
Taking Your Puppy Home
The exciting part! Picking up your puppy to bring them home is a magical experience and to make the transition easy on your fur baby, here are a few things to consider. A full check-up and registration at the vet should be your first priority.
The first few days are going to be daunting for your little one, so it is best not to have visitors straight away and to keep the environment quiet and calm. If you can, bringing them home with a blanket that has the scent of their mother as this can be of comfort to them.
A crate is a great space for them to retreat to and sleep in securely at night. You can purchase covers to add more privacy and the other benefit of a crate is that it aids toilet training. A puppy will not want to mess where their bed is.
Some Key Essentials For Your Home
- Wipe clean mat, food and water bowl
- A selection of toys e.g., squeaky, chewy and soft toys
- Puppy pads
- Doggy toothpaste & toothbrush
- Brush and comb
- Collar and ID tag (Legal requirement)
- Harness and lead
- Poo bags
- Dog wet wipes
Here at Simply Jasper’s we strive to produce completely natural food to give your dog the best start in life. We do not use any colourants, additives, cereals or rice, in fact anything that is not healthy for any dogs irrespective of their age and breed.
With a high meat content, butternut squash, fruits and herbs and a combination of the best quality human-grade ingredients it is the perfect natural choice for your dog and suitable for all ages.
Treats can be a great way of rewarding your pooch as you train them, as long as you keep mindful of factoring treats within the puppy’s daily calorie intake of course!
Putting snacks in a puzzle or Kong is a great way to entertain and mentally stimulate your pup.
Jasper’s Luxury Collection Treats are great way to incentivise and reward, and they come in a sealable pouch to keep them fresh and travel friendly!
They come in four mouth-watering flavours each containing a selection of herbs and is a semi-moist range to intensify the taste.