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Thinking of getting a new puppy? Here is what you need to know

Owning a puppy is an expensive and long term commitment and unfortunately there are far too many internet adverts that encourage you to buy without doing your research. A photo of a cute puppy with as little information as possible is geared to encourage impulse buying. Having a happy, playful puppy is a very enjoyable experience but it is also a big commitment and demanding in time, money and veterinary care.  Remember, a cute fluffy puppy will grow into a dog and will be with you for the next 10 to 15 years or more. If you have carefully considered all that is involved in having a pet and decided to get the right puppy for you and your circumstances, here are some suggestions to consider. It is important when getting any new pet that you choose carefully and that it is an informed decision with the entire family. 

Where to get your new puppy?

The ISPCA recommends adopting a puppy from your local rescue centre or dog pound. There are so many pets looking for responsible homes where they will be happy and cared for, for the rest of their lives.  All dogs and puppies adopted from the ISPCA Centres are health checked, parasite treated, vaccinated, microchipped and neutered/spayed when old enough. ISPCA staff have the expertise to assist with any questions you have about getting a new dog or puppy and will try to match you with the best pet for your household. Before you decide on your new best friend, you should consider your lifestyle and the amount of time spent at home as dogs and puppies need daily companionship and exercise which also helps prevent behavioural problems.

If you really feel you want to buy a pedigree puppy, please do some research before you buy any pet. Different breeds have different requirements and temperaments. First ask your veterinary practitioner if they know any reputable breeders or contact the Irish Kennel Club for advice. The Irish Kennel Club can also direct you to breed rescue organisations. Check with the Kennel Club that the breeder is an Irish Kennel Club Assured Breeder before purchasing a puppy. The IKC will be able to point you in the right direction if you really want a specific breed. 

Getting a Puppy from a Dog Breeder

 

  • If you decide to buy a puppy online, visit the IPAAG website first to ensure the advertising website complies with IPAAG Minimum Standards where you will also find lots of tips and advice. IPAAG also has advice for buying other pets including cats, equines small mammals and more.
  • It is important you see the puppy interacting with its mother and check that the facilities are clean and the litter appears alert and healthy. You should be able to handle the puppies freely under supervision. Make sure your puppy is old enough to leave its mother – at least 8 weeks old.
  • If your chosen puppy does not originate from the place of purchase, ask where it came from and try to obtain its previous history. Buyer beware! Puppies from puppy farms or other unscrupulous breeders can develop illnesses once you get them home, so save yourself the heartache and do your research before you have brought the puppy home.
  • Always ask for a copy of its medical records, including vaccination certificate and records of worming and flea treatment. For pedigree puppies, ensure that the Irish Kennel Club registration papers and the parents’ hereditary disease screening certificates, where appropriate, are in order.
  • It is now a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped and registered with an approved database (Animark, Fido, Irish coursing Club or Irish Kennel Club) by the time they reach 12 weeks of age or before they are removed from their place of birth, whichever comes first.  When ownership of a dog is transferred from one person to another, the details must be recorded on the dog’s certificate of registration.  The relevant database must then be notified of the change of ownership. 

Remember, the likely lifetime cost of owning a dog ranges from €15,000 to €23,000 depending on the size of the dog. This excludes veterinary costs if your pet becomes sick or injured, so this average cost could be even higher. Whether you are looking for a pug, husky, Jack Russell terrier, or cocker spaniel, you should consider each breeds own requirements and potential veterinary issues. Can you afford the lifetime costs of owning a dog?

Dogs and puppies like all animals, have five essential needs to be healthy and happy; these are commonly known as ‘The Five Freedoms’. Under the Animal Health & Welfare Act of 2013, and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland, all owners need to provide these five things for the pets they keep: 

  1. Environment – a suitable living environment
  2. Diet – a suitable diet
  3. Behaviour – to be able to behave normally
  4. Companionship – to have appropriate companionship
  5. Health – to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

For more information, please contact the ISPCA National Animal Centre on 043 33 25035, email info@ispca.ie

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