Are you considering adding a furry family member to your home? Whether you adopt from a shelter or a breeder, it's important to select a breed and personality type that matches you and your family's needs. It's important to consider the exercise needs of the pet, grooming needs, and potential health issues.
There are many local rescue organizations that take in varies breeds of dogs, and also breed specific rescue organizations. Petfinder.com is a helpful resource for searching for pets that need homes in your area.
If you decide you would like to purchase from a breeder, here are some things to consider:
Does the breeder have the parents on site? You should have the ability to see the breeding bitch. If the stud is not on site, you should be provided information on his lineage and contact information for the owner.
Have the parent's hips been x-rayed or OFA certified? Large breed dogs who are producing offspring such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, etc. should have both parent's hips x-rayed by a veterinarian. Some even go as far as to have the hips OFA certified. This means that x-rays have been taken to evaluate for hip dysplasia and the parents have been found to have good to excellent hips. Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition; breeding dogs with hip dysplasia can pass this on to their offspring resulting in lameness, arthritis, and pain. Sometimes surgical correction is needed. Some breeders even go as far to certify the parent's elbows, as elbow dysplasia is also a genetic condition causing pain and arthritis in large breed dogs.
Are you aware of breed specific health concerns?It is important to know what health conditions are commonly seen in the breed of dog you would like to purchase. For example, Boxers are often diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, which can be a fatal condition. Cavaliers are at risk for mitral valve disease, eye problems, and Syringomyelia, a very serious and painful condition. The breeder should be able to tell you if any parents in the puppy's lineage have been diagnosed with genetic conditions.
Has the puppy been vet checked, vaccinated, and dewormed prior to being homed? Some breeders will start vaccinating puppies for distemper/parvo prior to rehoming them. It is important to inquire if these vaccinations were given by a veterinarian, or purchased OTC and given in the home. Vaccinations purchased OTC carry an inherent risk. Vaccines must be kept refrigerated and administered appropriately in order to be considered effective. When in the hands of those outside of the veterinary profession, there is no way to know if the vaccines were handled appropriately and administered correctly. If left at room temperature or in warm conditions, vaccines can become ineffective and potentially toxic to the pet.
Be aware that many pet stores receive their puppies from puppy mills where the focus is on quantity of puppies and not quality or care.
Know that at AKC certificate does not guarantee a healthy dog or puppy.