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Choosing your next puppy

Caroline Robertson

Pet ownership is very rewarding but the decision should not be taken lightly as it is a long term and substantial responsibility.

When choosing your next puppy there are many things to consider; preferably a happy and healthy puppy and you should also think about the adult size and type of nature that will suit your family and lifestyle.

There will always be the basics to provide- food, water and shelter but you also need to think about the time required to provide love, exercise, play and training which are all equally important.

Just like us, as your pet ages their health requirements are likely to increase and you need to budget for this. Pet insurance is readily available now with free 6-8 week puppy cover offered and this is a very sensible approach to ensuring you will be able to provide care for unexpected injuries and illness through your pets life.

Once you have decided on the type of puppy you would like, think about “ethically sourcing it”.

With regards to adopting rescue dogs, a good source is your local SPCA web pages or look at the retired working dog Facebook page ,which tries to find good homes for either older working dogs, younger working dogs that have not shown good work ability or sheep dog cross puppies that resulted from unwanted matings .These dogs can make fantastic pets.

When buying a pup try to avoid buying pups from puppy farms or mills.

The things you need to look for to avoid purchasing from a puppy farms include:

- The seller should be happy for you to visit them and see the pups in their kennel or home. If a puppy breeder does not want you to visit that is a potential warning sign.

- The seller should seek some background information on you to help ensure their pups are going to good homes.

- During the visit look carefully at the environment the pups are being reared in. It should be clean and hygienic.

- Check that the puppies are able to have time out of their cages and are able to interact and play with people and other dogs. This will ensure the pups are well socialised and they will make better pets.

- Make sure you meet the parents and check out their temperaments. Do they look healthy with good coats and body condition? Are they well behaved, playful and happy to be with other dogs and people?

- Also check the bitches breeding history. You should be concerned if a bitch has had more than 3 litters, to avoid over breeding.

Once you have made your decision and collected your new dog we strongly recommend that you make an appointment with your own vet to for a health check.  The vet will ensure that the vaccinations are current and correct for the dog’s lifestyle, worm and flea programs are appropriate and also look for issues that may cause problems in the future such as testicles that have failed to descend, umbilical hernias and eye or skin problems.


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