Puppy love should be heeded with a word of caution at holidays

All too often, common sense seems to fly out the window when faced with an adorable animal, but buying a pet is a long-term investment. As with any other purchase, the more you know before you buy, the better off you will be. Before buying a pet this holiday season, Better Business Bureau reminds you to do your research.

Since January, BBB has received close to 500 complaints nationally against dog breeders. Most allege that the puppies developed severe illnesses or, sometimes, passed away shortly after being bought. Additionally, some consumers allege they were misled about the dog’s breed or pedigree.

Before making the leap and adding a furry friend to your family this holiday season, consider the following tips:

  • Find a responsible breeder. You can find responsible breeders by asking for referrals from your veterinarian or trusted friends or by contacting local breed clubs. Visit bbb.org to see the BBB Business Review of any dog breeder you are considering.
  • Visit the premises and ask to see the parents. Responsible breeders give a loving and healthy environment for their canine companions, one that they will be proud to show you. Before bringing your puppy home, ask to see his or her parents and the living area where he or she was born and raised.
  • Ask for references. Ask the breeder for contact information of people who have bought puppies in the past. Talk to people who have had their dog for a while to check for issues that may not be immediately clear.
  • Avoid buying a puppy online. If you cannot meet the breeder and the animal before  buying, it is very likely to be a scam. Especially if the so-called breeder or seller asks for money up front and/or payment via wire transfer.
  • Read contracts thoroughly. If the seller offers a health guarantee, make sure it is in writing. Read it carefully for limits and proof requirements. Guarantees should cover more than a few weeks or days, since it can take weeks for symptoms to appear.
  • Ask for medical records. Get a written account of all medical care your puppy has received, including vaccinations and antibiotics. Take this record to your vet during the first examination, which should happen within a couple of days of bringing your puppy home.
  • Keep your puppy quarantined. If you already have pets, keep them separated from your new puppy until it is given a clean bill of health.
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1 Comment

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One response to “Puppy love should be heeded with a word of caution at holidays

  1. Mark Burrows

    You know, I am beyond understanding people’s need to own exotic breeds of dogs. There seems to be a new cross breed coming out daily that gets sanctioned by the Dog Breeders Association. I grew up on a farm, we raised livestock cattle, but my father’s passion was horses. His pride was the Tennessee Walker which we bred. No cross breeding, although our stud who lived 37 years, had a tendency to clear his corral and track down any mare in heat. But most local farmers didn’t mind having a foal from a prize winning horse at no charge. As my father aged, he knew he couldn’t keep up with the horses any longer, I had long left the farm life for university and a more prolific career. So my father took to breeding dogs. We had a mix of Heinz 57 dogs on the farm and one pure bred Border Collie that my dad loved because of his intelligence and the way he rounded up the horses and when we moved livestock the collie was up to the task.
    This time my father decided on a smaller dog to please my mother so acquired an alpha male and a couple of bitches, all registered with a handsome history and began breeding and raising Shelties or also know as Shetland Sheepdogs. Sometimes they are referred to as miniature collies, but this is not a proper name.
    The point is, as a dog breeder, it was the for the sake of the love of the animals. My father always kept one or two out of a litter so he could train them to do tricks to entertain children at hospitals and seniors and senior centers, or just people at the park. He felt responsible to make sure that his dogs found good homes. He has long since passed, and one of my brothers took the task, but didn’t have the same magic, so he sold the entire collective of Shelties.
    Point is, my father didn’t sell these dogs for a lot of money, He didn’t run a puppy mill, he wouldn’t even sell a dog if he suspected meanness or cruelty or as he said it, he could smell it on them. Part of his deal was that he would always check on the well being of the dog from time to time and also be willing to train their pet for show or perform tricks for a fee. He had the awards and always had dogs with him to prove his ability. Besides, you couldn’t help but like my dad.
    You need to find someone like him to buy a dog from. Otherwise, give up your dream to have a fancy dog, that will likely get stolen and resold on the black market and go to your local SPCA and adopt a mutt, you might be surprised and find a few rare breeds there, but without the paperwork. But do you really need paperwork to love a pet?

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