Buying a dog or puppy on-line.
Following on from our other Holidays4Dogs article concerning the theft of pregnant bitches and litters of puppies, this article will focus on some of the things to consider when using the internet to purchase a dog or puppy.
Buying or re-homing a dog on-line can be fraught with pitfalls which buyers need to be aware of. Dogs these days are a commodity and most fetch considerable amounts of money – sometimes justified in the case of rescue animals but nevertheless, purchasing or rescuing a dog will usually come with a significant price tag and buyers need to be sure exactly what they are parting with cash for.
While many are tempted to browse the internet for a dog or puppy, it is important to be really careful because there are, sadly, many adverts that are not quite as they seem. It is crucial that prospective purchasers do their homework beforehand.
Puppy farmers and dealers frequently use internet sites to sell puppies and many know exactly the right phrases to use such as, “puppies have been vet checked and are all healthy”. This statement means very little in itself – even if a brief vet check has occurred this does not guarantee the health of the puppies. It is important to establish what health checks are recommended for the breed you have chosen, (such as hip scoring in Labradors) and whether the breeder has had these carried out on the dogs they are breeding with. A claim that the vet has passed Labrador puppies as healthy is no substitute for evidence of hip scoring certificates for the parents of the puppies.
Equally, being kennel club registered does not mean that the puppies are fit and healthy, so don’t be fooled by claims of pedigrees as “long as my arm” or “champion bloodlines” – this does not mean the dog is either healthy or fit for purpose.
Always, always, always, make sure you see a litter of puppies with its mother – never accept ANY excuse as to why this cannot happen. Reasons might include, the mother of the puppies is at the vet, being walked by someone else in the family or has been put away as it is ‘protective’ of the puppies. In the latter case, you would walk away from a litter whose mother had such a poor temperament that it wouldn’t let anyone near the pups at 8 plus weeks of age. This is not a good enough excuse and an indication of an unbalanced mother and therefore potentially, the same with some or all of the puppies.
If you have seen an advert for a second hand dog being advertised by the current owner, again be very wary. In this situation it is vitally important to ask as many questions as you can and make sure you do not say you will have the dog until you have been to see it and make sure it is of good temperament. If in doubt, it is worth asking a local dog trainer to go with you for an opinion on the character of the dog. ‘Rescuing’ a sickly looking dog or puppy from a private seller means you are probably fueling the dog dealers market. It might be hard to walk away, but it would be better to do so and then report the individual to the RSPCA.
Consider the reasons why the owner is giving the dog up – and remember that there is some truth in the age old adage that nobody gives a good dog up!