This blog idea has been going around in my head for sometime now and is a subject that I feel quite strongly about. With the documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed 2 being aired last night and my overhearing a conversation about where someone could get hold of a cheap puppy I thought I would ask you to consider a few ideas carefully before you go ahead an bring a canine family member into your home.
There are lots of places that you can get a puppy from, rescue centres, breeders, pet shops and from someone you know whose dog had puppies, to name just a few. At the moment it would seem that the thing driving consumers is the price , as cheap as I can get it please. And what the puppy looks like. However these things are not necessarily what we really need for our pets. What about the health of the puppy? Not just its health now, but long term health. Buying a cheaper puppy may seem like good value now, but what about the vets bills involved when your puppy gets home and has fleas and diarrhoea? What about the vet bills that are incurred as it gets older and cannot walk properly, see properly or breath properly? Its behavioural well-being is also incredibly important, a puppy that has not been raised in the best environment over the first few weeks of life is at high risk of developing behavioural problems as an adult dog, and behavioural problems can be just as life threatening as poor health.
There are lots of breeders out there doing an amazing job, producing puppies that have been bred from genetically tested parents, in a clean, safe, stimulating, family environment that go on to be healthy, well balanced canine members of society. These puppies may cost a little bit more, since the breeder needs to pay for health testing, vaccinations, good food and some even contribute to research into the long term health of their chosen breed. Money well spent in my opinion. These people will give you support for the life of your puppy.
However, there are people out there breeding puppies who have no regard for the health, mental well-being or future of the breed that they are selling. Their interest is purely in making money. Some of these people call themselves breeders and sell their puppies from home and as soon as the puppies are sold they are mating their dogs again to get some more puppies to sell. This is really no life for the poor dog. However, worse than this, there are what is known as puppy farms. These may be old farms, outbuildings or someone’s shed, where female dogs are kept in cages, in poor conditions, with no exersise, no play, often unvaccinated and unwell, with limited human contact, producing as many puppies as they can to sell in to pet shops, dog supermarkets and on free ads in newspapers. On a motorway journey a few years ago a colleague and I saw a man trading puppies out of the back of a white van lined with cages of puppies. The people buying these puppies have no idea where they have come from, have not seen the puppy’s parents nor the environment it was brought up in. Below are some photographs of a house that was used as a place to breed puppies, they do not make nice viewing but are real. This kind of place is where puppies are being born and raised today!
As you can see, this is really not a nice place for a dog to live nor for puppies to be born in to. Yet this is going on all of the time, these photos were taken inside someone’s house.
Now we may all take offence at these photos, or object to media footage of dogs that can’t breath properly, we may criticise people that breed dogs, or sell dogs, we may rage at the Kennel Club and say they should do more to help. However as long as the pet buying public continue to fund these unscrupulous people, they will continue to make money from us! One customer once said that his friend researched his new coffee maker more than his new puppy before he bought one, shocking, but common. So I say that we should stop blaming everyone else for this sad state of affairs. We need to educate ourselves and do our research before we go out and get a puppy. This will put puppy farmers and bad breeders out of business and we will start to see an improvement in the health and well-being of dogs in our country.