The Dewdney Puppy Guide

Looking for a Puppy? Read this First!

Apr 27, 2016 | Dewdney Animal Hospital, Dogs


We love puppies. We want you to love your puppy! If you are looking to add a new family member, please read our quick guide first. Adopting a puppy from a regulated rescue or breeder can save you a lot of money- and heartbreak- in the long run.

1.) Research

For those looking for puppies, there are some things to remember. When researching a new pet, look to the Canadian Kennel Club. While you pay extra for a registered dog, it makes it less likely that it is a fly by night operation.

Remember no matter how cute your peekapom, or your yorkiedoodle, or your cockapoo is, there is no reason for people to breed them EXCEPT to make money. Mixed breeds are far more likely to be from a puppy mill.

If they say they are from up valley and they can bring one by your house, or meet you at the Costco in Langley, they are from a puppy mill.

2.) Health Testing Check

The Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) results from registered breeders are often available to the public online. It is always a good idea to check and see if the breeder is posting health-testing results publicly online. It’s a very good sign when breeders have nothing to hide.

The OFA is guided by the following four specific objectives:

  • To collate and disseminate information concerning orthopedic and genetic diseases of animals.
  • To advise, encourage and establish control programs to lower the incidence of orthopedic and genetic diseases.
  • To encourage and finance research in orthopedic and genetic disease in animals.
  • To receive funds and make grants to carry out these objectives.

3.) Home Visit

Like we said before, if they insist on bringing one by your house, or meeting you at the Costco in Langley, they are from a puppy mill.

See the bitch, if she truly is the mother she will have enlarged mammary glands, if it doesn’t look like she has lactated recently, she is not the mom. Check the moms medical records, they should have some evidence that they have kept the mom for several years, look for photos of the mom.

Look at the environment the dogs are in. Ask to see all of the breeder’s dogs, not just the bitch. Ask to see where the dogs are kept, if not in the house 24/7. Check for cleanliness. Observe all of their dogs for any discharge or abnormalities.

4.) Q&A

Knowing the right things to ask is half the battle. A good breeder will more than likely talk your ear off about these topics!

Here are 10 questions from the CKC. You can read the full article here: Ten Questions To Ask The Breeder

  1. How long have you been breeding dogs?
  2. Will the puppies be registered?
  3. Can I see the sire and dam’s health clearances?
  4. Can I see where the puppies are being housed?
  5. What were your goals for this litter?
  6. Is the dam current on her vaccines?
  7. At what age will the puppies be ready to go home?
  8. Will the puppies be seen by a vet before they leave?
  9. What kind of guarantee do you offer?

If you are Rescuing…

Congratulations! There are thousands of homeless dogs in BC alone. You are doing a very selfless act by inviting these pets into your home. Not all rescues are equal though! In fact, some are extremely shady.

Check out this guide by Ann Leary, included in it are Signs of a Sketchy Rescue:

  • The group is unwilling to let visitors see the location where animals are kept.
  • The animals are kept inside and around the home of the person who runs the rescue group, rather than at a kennel/shelter or in foster homes
  • The group will not disclose the number of animals in its care.
  • Little effort is made to adopt animals out in some cases. In other cases,  the group or individual may use the number of “placements” as proof that they are indeed rescuing and placing animals.  Often the number of placements is inflated.  And frequently, because they don’t adequately check references and the adopters’ living situations, the dog ends up back with the rescuer/hoarder or at a pound.
  • More animals are continually taken in, despite the poor condition of existing animals.
  • Legitimate shelters, ethical breeders and rescue organizations are viewed as the enemy.
  • Animals may be received at a remote location (parking lot, street corner, etc.) rather than at the group’s facilities.
  • On Petfinder and other internet adoption sites, the animal for adoption is described using language like this: “Poor Jingles is just a lovebug, he wags his tail and gives big smooches to everybody he sees. He was placed in a shelter after a child tripped over him and he nipped her out of fear. Now he doesn’t know what he did wrong. (blah,blah,blah).”  A responsible rescue organization will use language like this to describe the same dog:  “Jingles is a 4-year-old neutered male lab-mix.  He has wonderful manners, is friendly and housebroken. Jingles would make a  great pet in an adult home, or possibly in a home with children ages 12 or older.”
  • The rescue organization doesn’t ask you for references, nor does it provide you with its own references.  This is very important.  A responsible rescue organization will have a very good working relationship with one veterinary practice and if you ask them for the name of the vet, they should provide it.  You should call the vet and ask them about the group, and also confirm that the dog has had the vaccinations or other treatments that the “rescuer” says have been provided.  Area vets are usually on to hoarders
  • They don’t do a home visit. Many animal rescue groups insist on a home visit.  I know some people think this is meddlesome, but usually they are there to make sure that the animal will be in your home for the longterm.  If they discover that the plan is for the animal to be crated for a large part of the day, they will talk to the adopters about arranging for a dog-walker to come once a day to walk and play with the dog.  If there is a high-energy child in the house, they might tell you that the particular dog you’re interested is not appropriate but they might have another dog that would be a better fit. This is how the organization helps the dog and the family/person adopting a dog.  If they just want an adoption fee or a donation and will hand over the dog, they don’t fully understand animal welfare.


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Dewdney Diaries is a blog updated every month, recounting the exciting and interesting stories at Dewdney Animal Hospital. There's never a dull day at Dewdney!

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