Birchwood's Puppy Buying Guide

Make Sure You Are Prepared

Having a puppy involves lots of new preparations and commitments, so it is important that you understand some of the ways having a puppy will affect you.

This means understanding the following:

  • Dogs are for life! – When you buy a new puppy, you should be prepared to take care of it for at least 13 years. If you’re not, then don’t buy one.
  • Breed Research – The breed you choose needs to be a suitable match for your lifestyle, surroundings, family and location etc. Specific breeds are more suited to different environments, so do your research.
  • Time-consuming – Having a pet is time consuming, so be prepared to sacrifice your own time to care for your dog/puppy.
  • Lifetime Costs – Puppies are more expensive than the initial purchase price. There are many additional costs including: Veterinary bills, food, water, bed, collar, leads and other costs that you need to consider.
  • Veterinarian Care - Get health insurance for your pet to avoid spending astronomical veterinary fees.
  • Walks & Exercise - All dogs need daily exercise. While some smaller dogs can get by with roaming freely in a large garden, the majority of dogs and puppies require regular walks.
  • Child-Friendly - Before getting a dog, make sure your family gets along.
  • Dog Training – Dogs needs a lot of training, especially young puppies, is be prepared for teeth marks, wee and poo in the early stages.
  • Holidays – If you want to go on holiday then you’ll either have to pick somewhere that is dog-friendly or make other arrangements in advance.

How to Obtain a Puppy or Dog Responsibly

Consider a Rescue Dog/Puppy. Why not give a dog a second chance, by treating them right. Rescue dogs have often been neglected by bad owners, but that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t be the perfect dog for you. The benefits of buying a dog from a rescue shelter is that they put a lot of emphasis on training and preparing the dogs/puppies before sending them to a new home. They also ensure they are a suitable match for you, before sending you away.

Direct from the Breeder

To learn more about the puppy, it is advisable to contact the breeder directly. A competent breeder should have in-depth knowledge of their specific breed and be happy to talk about how the puppies were raised and any health examinations that were performed. Find out if they already have or are willing to use the Puppy Contract, which is a legal agreement between the breeder and the purchaser that spells out their respective obligations with regard to care, treatment, and money.

Ask Questions

The best thing to do when you see a puppy or dog you like the look of, is to call ahead and ask some questions. Some of the questions you should ask are:

  • Do the puppies have any medical conditions?
  • Did either parent ever experience health problems?
  • Has the breeder used routine veterinary treatments such as wormers?
  • Will the puppies be given vaccinations prior to rehoming?
  • Will or were the puppies be microchipped at 8 weeks old?
  • Have the parents been screened to ensure there’s an absence of common inherited disease associated with that breed.
  • Has/will the trainer start to socialise the puppy before it’s rehomed?
  • Have the puppies been met and handled buy a range of different people?
  • Have the puppies been microchipped?

Since it will be simpler for them to acclimate, it is always a good idea to look for pups who have spent a lot of time in an environment similar to yours (your home and local parks).

Meet the Parents

It is essential to meet the mother and siblings to find out more about the mother’s health. If you can, then meet the father and ask lots of questions.

Check the Puppy's Health

Look for visible signs of bad health such as ribs, a scruffy coat, rex eyes, stalling around the tail and hair loss etc. If you have any concerns, then consult a vet before purchasing the dog.

Check Records

Max sure you get proof that dog/puppy has been microchipped and vaccinated.

  • Microchip paperwork with the puppy’s individual Identification number and the database they are registered with.
  • Vaccination records should be stamped by the veterinary practice and singed be the veterinary surgeon.

Observe their Personality

  • Sit down with the litter so you can see which one your think is best suited to you and your situation.
  • Pay attention to how they react to you.
  • Puppies have personalities too, so look for the personality that you feel will be most fitted for you.

Bear in mind:

  • Confident Puppies may need a lot of training to stop them being unruly and to prevent it from developing into aggression as they get older.
  • Nervous puppies require careful desensitisation to ensure the anxiety doesn’t develop into behavioural problems.

As a rule of thumb, more confident puppies are usually better suited to new owners than nervous puppies.

Don’t buy a puppy/dog on the first visit

Give yourself some time to think it over. Why not speak to friends and family before making such a big commitment?

Visit the puppy/dog more than once, just like us, puppies have different moods too. Ask the breeder if you can take the puppy to a different part of the house to see how it reacts.

Bring your children along on the second visit, to make sure the dog gets on with them too.

It’s advisable to ask the breeder to provide a completed puppy contract before your second visit so that, if necessary, you have time to review it and seek a vet’s advice.

If you have concerns for any pf the pet’s welfare, then please speak to RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

Collecting Your Puppy

Congratulations, it is not long until you bring your new family member home!

Before you bring the new puppy/dog home, make sure everything is ready and prepared at home. For example, ensure you have purchased a bed, toys, a collar, a lead, water bowl and food at the very least.

Other things you will need to do include:

  • Registering to a vets and book vaccines as soon as possible.
  • Change the microchip details to your name (it is a legal requirement).
  • Check insurance providers in advance.
  • Make sure you have everything arranged for traveling back. For example, towels and a carrier (sitting the dog on your lap is not safe).

Before you got to collect your new puppy/dog, it is important that you understand and remembers tat no puppy is going to be perfect and that there will be a period of adjustment to your home and family. It is a good idea to purchase a guide because even if they have been trained prior to your ownership they will still need further training once they reach your home.

See DogsTrust.org.uk for more information