Draw up a 'puppy contract' before you buy
This month is National Pet Month - so what is it all about?
It is promoted by a charity which campaigns for responsible pet ownership through educational programmes, develops awareness of the fantastic physical and mental rewards of pet ownership, increases awareness of the value of working and assistance animals and also raises funds for needy pets.
It is running till May 6 and thousands of people are taking part promoting good pet care and raising money for their favourite animal charity.
Of course, owning a pet is a wonderful privilege and many organisations are trying to encourage responsible pet breeding and purchasing to maintain the wellbeing of animals and prevent the heartbreak getting a pet that has health or behavioural problems.
The RSPCA, the Animal Welfare Foundation and the British Veterinary Association have developed a puppy contract to enable purchasers of puppies to feel more confident when buying a new puppy.
A recent veterinary survey has found that most puppy problems are related to insufficient understanding by owners of a breed’s needs and its suitability to their household and lifestyles.
Problems also arose due to the conditions of breeding in puppy farms; conformation and genetic problems such as flat faces and the difficulty in breathing by these dogs; and a lack of socialisation of puppies leading to behavioural issues.
In 2018, new legislation in the UK has changed regarding the breeding of dogs and for England can be summarised as follows: - if a breeder rears three or more litter per year for sale and advertises the puppies, they must hold a licence from the local authority and publish this alongside their advertisement.
The three organisations have also developed a “puppy contract”, which is free to use and will help you make an informed decision about your puppy, be happy and comfortable with your purchase or highlight when you should walk away.
The website guides you through the key steps of purchasing a puppy and suggests six questions you should ask.
1. Did the person selling the pups breed them?
2. Are the puppies kept in the house and well socialised?
3. Were the puppy’s parents screened for genetic diseases that are inheritable?
4. Will the puppies have their microchips and first vaccinations before rehoming?
5. Have the puppies or their parents had any health problems?
6. Have the puppies had routine veterinary treatment, such as wormers?
If the seller’s answers to these questions are not satisfactory, then you should be prepared to walk away. A good breeder will be happy to answer all these questions and should be questioning you to make sure you are a suitable owner for one of their puppies.
If you are searching for a new puppy to enhance your life, I recommend you visit the website (https://puppycontract.org.uk/) as a starting point to make sure you get a dog that you’ll be able to love and care for all its life.