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Crufts 2024: British Veterinary Association lists the questions people buying a puppy this year should ask





Five important questions should be asked of dog breeders, says the British Veterinary Association, by anyone considering buying a puppy.

With most puppies born in spring and summer – and with Crufts 2024 now on our television screens – vets are sharing the most important things they say anyone tempted to get a new pet this year should know.

The British Veterinary Association has put together a list of questions potential puppy owners should ask. Image: iStock.
The British Veterinary Association has put together a list of questions potential puppy owners should ask. Image: iStock.

British Veterinary Association junior vice president Dr Elizabeth Mullineaux explained: “Sadly, vets frequently see puppies that have been bred in poor conditions or bought without a proper understanding of their welfare needs, leading to health or behavioural issues. That is why anyone looking to get a dog should find out how the puppies have been reared and cared for in the first few weeks of their lives.

“If a breeder is not willing to provide answers to your questions, then you should walk away to avoid getting a puppy that might have a poor quality of life and perpetuating irresponsible dog breeding.”

Vets say asking the right questions can help avoid problems and potential health issues. Image: iStock.
Vets say asking the right questions can help avoid problems and potential health issues. Image: iStock.

Responsible breeders, promises the BVA, will be happy and comfortable to answer any questions a potential owner may have. However prospective owners, it says, should also be prepared to answer some themselves as breeders should be keen to establish that their puppy is going to a good and suitable home.

The top five questions to ask a puppy breeder, suggests the British Veterinary Association, are:

1.Did you breed the puppies yourself?

If the answer is ‘no’, says the BVA, people should walk away regardless of the answers to any other questions. By law, a breeder can only sell puppies they have bred themselves and from the location where they were bred and reared. So if the answers are vague, alarm bells should be ringing.

Have you asked to see the puppy’s parents? Image: iStock.
Have you asked to see the puppy’s parents? Image: iStock.

2.Have you started to house train and socialise the puppy?

Interested potential owners should ask to see the puppy socialise with its mother and brothers and sisters. It is also a good idea, suggests the association, to visit the puppy more than once before you make any commitment to take them home to spot any potential problems more easily.

3.Were both the puppy’s parents screened for testable inherited diseases?

Health testing and screening - such as the BVA or Kennel Club Canine Health Schemes – allow breeders to screen dogs for certain inherited diseases to help lower the risk of health conditions being passed on to puppies.

Prospective owners can ask for health screening certificates and run the results past a vet for further explanation. This, says the BVA, is especially important given a recent rise in unregulated dog fertility services being run without ‘proper oversight’ many of which are focused on in-demand breeds that can have serious health or welfare issues.

Potential owners should establish whether the person selling the dog bred it. Image: iStock.
Potential owners should establish whether the person selling the dog bred it. Image: iStock.

4.Will the puppy be microchipped and given their first vaccinations before homing?

Puppies must be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks old, and before they go to their new home. The breeder you are considering purchasing a puppy from should be ready to supply you with microchip paperwork, which includes your puppy’s individual identification number and the database they are registered with.

Puppies over six-weeks-old may have started their vaccination courses – therefore vaccination records should be stamped by a veterinary practice and signed by a veterinary surgeon.

5.Has the puppy or its parents had any health problems?

It’s important to be aware of any health problems the puppy or its parents have had as they could have been passed on to your puppy. If your puppy has received any treatment for anything, the breeder should provide details to you of anything abnormal that the vet may have noted on their records.

Advice includes making more than one visit before taking the puppy home. Image: iStock.
Advice includes making more than one visit before taking the puppy home. Image: iStock.

Further help and advice

For households considering adding a furry friend to their home this year the RSPCA and BVA’s charity the Animal Welfare Foundation has produced the Puppy Contract – a free one-stop guide developed by animal experts to help people through the process of buying a dog.

It gives prospective puppy owners all the information they need including the right questions to ask the breeder and it also offers it also provides a legally binding contract of sale between buyer and breeder.



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