There are certain things in life worth spending on and doing some research, and if you're going to buy a purebred puppy, it's one of those circumstances worth going the extra mile. Unfortunately, there are people out there who see puppies strictly as a business and care more about money than raising healthy animals.
So how are you supposed to identify these shady dealers and adopt a puppy that's happy and healthy? Here are a few tips to identifying whether your potential breeder is legitimate or if they might be a "puppy mill."
Stop Googling - Ask a Real Vet
They Don't Know, or Don't Share The Puppy's Parents
For a dedicated breeder, even though it may be their business, every litter is greeted with passion and excitement. Their breeding animals are their loves, and they invest time in making sure they are comfortable and healthy. A female shouldn't be having more than one or two litters a year, and an indication of a good breeder is that they actually don't have any puppies available. If they are breeding their animal at a reasonable frequency, it's likely you'll have to get on a waiting list for a puppy. Without seeing the parents, not only could they be unhealthy, it potential the puppy you're getting could even be stolen or second hand.
The Breeders Won't Let You See The Kennel
The kennel should be a breeder's castle, clean, dog-friendly, and fun. If your breeder refuses to let you see the kennel or only offers to meet you in places like store parking lots, it could be a sign that they don't have a safe environment for raising animals.
Puppy mills are notorious for close quarters that can lead to disease spreading through the kennel, or confined cages where animals are trapped with their own feces. When you get your puppy it should have a clean shiny coat and should smell good. If it's dirty or smells badly, it could mean that it was in one of these small, enclosed kennels.
They Focus on More Than One Breed
Adopting a puppy is not like shopping in a hypermarket with a lot of different products. You won't be able to find several different breeds under one roof. If a breeder tries «to be everywhere» and breeds more than two breeds, it's a bad sign. It is better to focus on caring for one or two breeds of dogs. So if you meet a breeder who claims to be a "one-stop shop" for many types of dogs, be careful. Quantity does not guarantee quality.
They Don't Ask You to Sign Paperwork
It is logical that a good breeder wants to give a puppy to loving owners only. He will ask you to sign a contract and documents to guarantee your care of the puppy. According to the contract, you have to give the dog all the necessary shots, spay them, and take them to the vet regularly. There may also be a clause stating that if you ever give up on the dog, they must be returned to the breeder.
You can also ask them about veterinary clinics they can recommend to visit or pet insurance. If they can't answer anything or the answer is too short, it will confirm the fact that they don't care about animal health and insurance.
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If your potential breeder's attention is focused only on selling the puppy quickly and making money, it means that he doesn't care about the future of the pet. Breeder doesn’t try to take care of the conditions the pooch will be in and learn more about the future owners. This should be a warning sign that the dog may not come from a very loving breeder.
They Offer The Puppy When It's Too Young
One way puppy mills cut their costs is by adopting out puppies as early as possible. A competent person knowing all about puppies would know how bad this idea is. Leaving their mother too early can cause many problems for puppies because they gain valuable antibodies and fat from their mother's milk, and rely on their littermates and mom for socialization. A puppy shouldn't be leaving its litter until it is at least six to eight weeks old.
The Pup Hasn't Had Its Shots
This is a good sign that the puppy you're getting is either too young, or that they simply don't care about the dogs' health. This is another way mills manage to cut costs, and dogs frequently don't get the basic or preventative care that a growing dog needs. Also, any puppy mill will not provide you with a special American Kennel Club package, as provided by Puppy Spot. So, ask not only about what shots your puppy has received, but what vaccinations it's parents have received as well.
Finally, be aware that breeders are reading the same types of articles you are, just like this one. Disreputable breeders will be ready when you ask questions and may even present fake paperwork, so be willing to ask further questions, ask for more proof, and dig deeper.
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