At this time of year scores of parents are wracking their brains, trying to think of the perfect present for their children. Something that doesn’t need batteries, doesn’t need to be built and will keep them amused for more than five minutes. A PUPPY! We are a nation of dog lovers…well most of us. Sadly there are people who take advantage of these good natured, loving species and use them mercilessly to make money. We’re talking, of course, about puppy farms.
If you are thinking of welcoming a wet nosed wee one in to your home please think carefully
Can you adopt rather than shop? Many rescue centres will NOT rehome for Christmas but if you really want a family pet, you could wait just a little longer.
With only nine weeks until Christmas my mind keeps going to the hundreds of poor little dogs, many only pups themselves, being kept in squalid, stinking conditions. Very soon online marketplaces will be flooded with ads picturing ‘loved and cherished’ pups, for sale ‘just in time for Christmas’. When you message these ‘owners’ everything will sound great. Wormed, flea treated, vaccination certificate, eight weeks old and worth every penny of the hundreds you will pay.
You arrange to see it at ‘home’ but oftentimes plans are changed at the last minute and the ‘owner’ is going to be in your area, at their friend’s house, your local Tesco car park or garage! What a coincidence. Of course you won’t see pup’s mum but she looks lovely in the photograph they sent you.
When you meet the owner, puppy may seem fine…or perhaps small, a little dirty and scared but it’s too late because THIS is where you fall hook, line and sinker for the wee tike. You can’t possibly leave it there…and the puppy farmers know that.
When you bring your scared little bundle to us we find its tender, swollen little tummy is full of worms, it’s itchy skin riddled with fleas, the ‘vaccination certificate’ is fake and he/she is NOT the age the breeder said…in fact this little one should still be with mummy. Perhaps your puppy is ‘fine’ and issues aren’t obvious until they are older; behavioural, emotional,congenital. Worse case scenario, which we DO see…the puppy develops abnormally, becomes very sick, has parvovirus and sadly dies. We see this in Cromlyn House Veterinary Hospital and it breaks our hearts.
What DO you do?
Talk to your vet. Ask the breeder if you can bring the puppy to us for a FREE health check before paying. That will soon reveal their intentions! Visit our hospital and clinic for more advice and visit this website Buying a puppy – Think MEG. Sandra Gilliland speaks at our monthly puppy parties and advises the following:
M is for mum
Ask the breeder if you can meet mum and possibly dad. If mum is unavailable, at the groomers, out for a walk etc then ask when she will definitely be there. If you can’t see a waggy tailed, loving and gentle mum then listen to the warning bells. All may not be what it seems.
E is for environment
Mum should be in an enriched environment, not subject to mental or emotional stress. If this is not the case then her unborn puppies will be exposed to stress hormones during pregnancy, leading to emotional damage, even before they are born.
G is for genetics
A good breeder will be able to provide you with a full health history of both mum and dad. Both dogs will have been screened for genetic diseases and both dogs should be of good, sound temperament. Again, ask to see mum AND dad.
There is a lot of research to be done before adopting/buying a puppy. PLEASE do not hesitate to contact us with ANY questions you may have.