Puppies! They’re one of the best things that life has to offer, from their adorable demeanor to their comforting, soft fur. A puppy can be a great addition to any family – but are you ready for it?
Buying a puppy isn’t a small matter. Rather, it is something that should be mulled upon and thought over. After all, you’re taking on the responsibility of pet ownership.
That doesn’t just mean cute dog photos and snuggles; that also means gross dog behaviors, cleaning up after your pup, and bringing them to the vet.
Knowing what to ask when buying a puppy makes you feel more confident in your decision and clears up any issues that you may not have thought about.
To make sure that you’re on the right track, here are nine questions to ask when buying a puppy.
- 1 What to Ask When Buying a Puppy
- 1.1 Am I Ready for a Puppy?
- 1.2 What Breed is the Best for Me?
- 1.3 Should I Adopt or Buy?
- 1.4 Are You Buying from a Reputable Breeder?
- 1.5 Is the Puppy Spayed or Neutered?
- 1.6 Is the Puppy Vaccinated or Dewormed?
- 1.7 Is the Puppy Microchipped?
- 1.8 What is the Puppy’s History?
- 1.9 Can I Have the Official Paperwork?
- 2 Your New Puppy
What to Ask When Buying a Puppy
Am I Ready for a Puppy?
While you may think that the answer is yes, you should take a step back and reconsider. Are you really ready for a puppy?
It’s not just a matter of knowing what to look for when buying a puppy, or even how much you want a puppy. First, consider the following.
Do you have the money for a puppy? This question mainly has to do with the cost of buying the puppy itself, but you should also consider all other finances.
Toys, dog beds, puppy food – these things add up, and they will continue to add up as a dog grows.
Are you someone who is outside the house for long hours? Do you travel often? How much time can you allocate to your dog?
Dogs aren’t like fish that you can leave at home without attention. Dogs require attention, especially puppies.
They will need to be played with, walked, and groomed regularly. If you’re a busy person, can you afford a dog walker? If you travel often, can you afford to take your dog with you?
Just like with toddlers, puppies require a puppy-proofed home. Make sure that everything that your puppy can reach won’t be harmful to it, even if those things get into your puppy’s mouth.
Chances are, your puppy will try to chew on things they find interesting, such as couches, plants, and furniture. Make sure to remove or block anything that can harm a puppy, such as doors leading to the outside, and secure electrical wires and outlets.
Remove any potential poisons, such as aggressive cleaners and plants that are known to be poisonous to dogs (such as tulips and azaleas).
When buying a new puppy, you’ll have to remember that puppies will chew on furniture, and they will knock over any items on tables. Making sure that your items on display and furniture aren’t too precious will be more fruitful than getting angry at a puppy that cannot understand you.
What Breed is the Best for Me?
Dogs are as varied as humans; they come in a range of breeds, each with their own needs and attitudes.
Figuring out the right type of breed for you will rest on a lot of factors, most of them having to do with the type of work that you’re willing to put into raising your puppy.
Are you the type of person who is outgoing? Are you out of the house often? Figuring out your own habits will help you find the right breed for you.
In considering the right dog breed, you will need to consider two things: the breed size and energy levels.
Dogs come in a variety of breeds, and therefore a variety of sizes. While your puppy may be small now, it will eventually grow up to be an adult, and researching the size that an adult will grow into is necessary before choosing a breed.
It will determine obvious things like the space that your dog will need when navigating your home, and less obvious factors like calorie intake.
Do you have a lot of space? Bigger dogs will need a larger space, not just in the areas where they will sleep in, but also in navigating the house. Larger dogs are bound to knock things over.
Will your dog be constantly surrounded by small children? Large, enthusiastic breeds will initiate play by mounting, and these behaviors can be scary for toddlers.
While your dog won’t mean to scare anyone, it can be frightening for everyone involved, and you will need to train your dog more intensely.
Do you want a guard dog? Smaller dogs may result in less maintenance, but they’re not exactly intimidating against burglars.
Energy Levels and Exercise Requirements
A dog’s energy levels are also another thing to consider. There are many athletes who also make great dog owners because they take their dogs out on runs.
But imagine if an athlete didn’t do their research and instead chose a dog breed without a lot of endurance. Imagine then, if a dog that liked to run was adopted by a person who hated running?
All dogs need regular exercise, but some are just better runners than others. It’s simply a matter of finding the right energy level and matching it to your own lifestyle.
Here’s a video showing tips on how to find the right dog breed for you.
Should I Adopt or Buy?
Whether you choose to adopt or buy a pet, both methods will present their own unique set of obstacles.
Both have their own pros and cons, and figuring out what is right for you depends on the kind of resources are available to you.
Benefits of Adopting
There are fierce advocates who say you should always adopt dogs instead of buying them. It should be noted that puppy mills exist, and that you should do your best to avoid supporting them.
Since puppy mills exist solely to generate profit, adopting dogs will make sure that you aren’t supporting a puppy mill.
Adopting also means giving a home to a pet that would otherwise be left in a pound or shelter for the rest of their lives, or worse – they could be put down.
Drawbacks of Adopting
While adopting can be a noble endeavor, it also means that your choices are greatly limited. Chances are, you won’t find the exact breed of pup that you’re looking for, especially if this breed is popular.
Puppies from shelters may also come with illnesses or conditions that need maintenance, costing you money in the long run.
Dogs with behavioral problems also come with their own set of challenges and should be treated more carefully than you would with a well-adjusted puppy.
Benefits of Buying
There are a few benefits to buying from a reputable and ethical breeder. Ethical breeders choose the breeds that they specialize in, so you’ll have no problem finding the exact puppy you’re looking for.
These puppies are also ‘fresh’ in a way, with few (or no) existing behavioral problems and illnesses.
Drawbacks of Buying
Buying dogs from a breeder can cost more than adopting. Aside from the cost, however, the real drawback in buying puppies is the effort you will need to invest to make sure that the breeder you are buying from is reputable and ethical.
Are You Buying from a Reputable Breeder?
If you do choose to go the buying route, make sure that you are knowledgeable on how to find puppy breeders who are ethical and humane.
Here are some steps that you can take to ensure that you are buying from a good breeder.
First, avoid buying from pet stores. Pet stores exist to make a profit, and more often than not get their pets from breeding mills.
Second, avoid buying from breeders who are selling too many breeds. Each pup needs its own unique brand of care; a breeder offering too many breeds should raise a red flag.
Finally, the most important step is to ask to meet your breeder, your chosen pup, and your pup’s family, in person. This is the only way to ensure that your pup comes from an ethical breeder.
Good breeders will gladly show you their dog’s home and will also keep the parents around to make sure that the pup grows up well-adjusted.
If you find any questionable breeders, contact the right authorities immediately. For those who would like a comprehensive guide to dog sellers, check out this guide from The Happy Puppy Site.
Is the Puppy Spayed or Neutered?
While there are people who are against neutering, it is widely considered to be the responsibility of a pet owner.
Neutering also ensures that your dog does not create any unwanted litters, adding to an already large population of dogs without homes.
If your dog is already neutered, you wouldn’t have to neuter them yourself, saving you time and money in the long run. Of course, if you plan on breeding your dog, make sure that your dog hasn’t been neutered yet.
If you are unfamiliar about spaying or neutering, here is an article from American Humane to bring you up to date.
Here’s a video showing more information on spaying and neutering your dog.
Is the Puppy Vaccinated or Dewormed?
Vaccinating and deworming puppies is necessary to make sure that they don’t contract illnesses which could have easily been prevented.
Vaccinations should be given to a pup depending on their age; common vaccines include rabies and DHPP. The American Kennel Club has a handy list of recommended vaccinations and when they should be given.
Puppies are a common host for worms. Puppies should be dewormed as early as two weeks old; this is done by providing medicine orally, to kill any worms that live in a pup’s gut.
If the pup you’re eyeing has been dewormed and vaccinated, there should be papers to back this up. Otherwise, you will have to pay for these procedures yourself.
Is the Puppy Microchipped?
If the dog is microchipped, it means it has an owner. Shelters should (and good ones do) determine whether a dog is microchipped or not.
If you’re looking at a dog that you wish to adopt off of the street, however, hold off on promising to take care of them until after you’re sure that this good pup doesn’t have a microchip.
What is the Puppy’s History?
Knowing the history of a puppy will help you understand the behavior and personality of your pup, be it a behavior that you’re noticing now or any behaviors that will manifest in the future.
Understanding where a dog comes from can help you navigate these behaviors and help solve them, should they need solving.
If you’re adopting a pup, you should go over their medical history. Previous illnesses, although treated and long gone, can still affect a dog’s temperament in the future, as well as their resistance to diseases.
You may also want to ask about the history of the owner, to provide a smooth transition for your pet.
If you’re buying, ask about the dog’s medical history, as well as how they were brought up. Make sure that your chosen pet has been socialized with other dogs and humans.
Some aspiring owners who want a specific breed may also ask for the lineage of their chosen pup; your breeder should be knowledgeable about this.
Most importantly, ask about the temperament of your chosen dog, and see if you would be a good match.
Can I Have the Official Paperwork?
After you have gone through the whole ordeal of finding the right dog and making sure that you’re ready to adopt, and your dog is ready to be adopted, it’s time to make things legal.
A good and ethical breeder will be happy to hand over and complete any and all paperwork that comes with a puppy.
Pups in shelters often don’t have any registration with them, so you will have to pay the fees to get them registered. Remember, having an unregistered dog is illegal in some states. On the other hand, registering your dog will also help should your dog ever get lost.
When buying a dog, you will also need to sign a contract of sale. Make sure to read this contact thoroughly.
The contents of a contract will also clue you in on what is important to the breeder; contracts usually include clauses about whether or not you will be allowed to breed this dog, that you should not sell this dog to a third party, that you will take care of this dog, and so on and so forth.
Your New Puppy
Getting a new puppy may seem exciting, but ensuring you’re ready for a huge commitment will not only be helpful to you, but to your dog.
Once you are sure that you’re ready, and you all have the answers you need, you can congratulate yourself on finding your new, loving pet!
What’s your favorite tip for buying a puppy?