At Vanity Fur we strive to be a philanthropic force for good in the animal community. We believe in driving awareness of responsible dog care and support for animal charities, as well as educating people on how they can help make a real difference. That’s why we dedicate 5% of our profits to animal welfare charities and also offer a 20% discount on all rescue dogs’ first grooms after they are adopted from a shelter or rescued from the pound (within the last 3 months), so just let us know when booking them in and remember to bring along your adoption certificate to avail of this offer. We love getting involved in any way we can in helping animals in need. If you have any ideas of how we can help your cause then please get in touch as we’d be delighted to hear from you. As major supporters of the elimination of puppy farming and the enforcement of legislation surrounding this, we would always try to encourage prospective owners to look into adopting a dog wherever possible. However, we do realise that people will often prefer to buy a pure breed puppy and so would urge anyone intending to do so to familiarise themselves with The Dog Breeding Establishments Act, 2010 before even considering purchasing a furry friend. Unfortunately the harsh reality is that many of those advertising on classifieds sites such as Done Deal and Gum Tree are at best inexperienced breeders without the knowledge of what is required to adhere to the correct breeding standards, and at worst cruel animal abusers operating small or large scale ‘puppy farms’, who exploit helpless dogs and bitches. These animals are forced to endure the most unspeakable conditions and treatment purely for the breeders’ monetary gain. You could end up with a sick or dying puppy that – even if he survived – might be plagued with lifelong health and behavioural problems. Below is a best practice guide to help you ensure you are buying a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder which we put together with the help of Dogs Trust: Good breeders will not let a puppy go until he is eight weeks old. They should want to meet and interview you to ensure you are a suitable owner for one of their pups, and this is a good opportunity for you as well, since you can see the conditions your pup is being raised in. It is absolutely essential to see the puppies with their mother. Some unscrupulous people claiming to be breeders might in fact be dealers who have bought the pups in. They are likely to be poorly bred, might be ill and are usually too young to leave their exhausted, ill-treated mothers. If they survive, these puppies rarely make good pets, and you will be fuelling this cruel trade where money is the priority and welfare of the dog is ignored. Try to avoid anywhere advertising more than three different breeds, and never buy a puppy if you have any doubts about the breeder or the situation. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the breeder happy for you to visit the puppy where it was bred and see it with its mother?
If not, please reconsider using this breeder. Beware of breeders who offer to meet you on the roadside as their place is ‘hard to find’ or who will come half way between where you are both located ‘to save you a long journey’ as this can often be a warning sign that the puppy comes from a puppy farm that they don’t want you to see. You also need to meet the pup’s mother to make sure she is a friendly dog, as temperament can be inherited. If you are not allowed to see them together consider this a potential warning sign as it may be that she is not their real mum.
- Are the puppies weaned?
At seven weeks they should be fully weaned, so if they are not they may be younger than the breeder is telling you and therefore should not be taken away from mum.
- Can the breeder tell you all about their own dogs and how often they breed from them?
It is against the law to breed a bitch more than six times in her lifetime. If the breeder breeds frequently they are required to have a licence.
- Have the puppies been wormed? All puppies have worms at birth. Worming should start with the breeder at about two weeks old, be repeated every two weeks and be continued by you.
- What sort of socialisation or experiences has the puppy had so far? During the first weeks of life, puppies are developing very rapidly. The environment they are in and the experiences that they have, influence how the brain develops and the behaviours they show. They learn what is important in life and how they can achieve it. Where they do not experience particular things, they are more likely to be worried about them later. For example, if a dog does not experience children as a puppy, he or she is more likely to be wary when they first meet children later in life. If they have never been apart from mother and siblings, they are more likely to be distressed by being separated when you take them home. It is therefore very important to check the environment of the puppy that you are considering carefully, and ask the breeder lots of questions about the experiences that puppies have had. Puppies should preferably be raised in a home environment with all the noise and through traffic of a normal home. Those raised in kennels away from the house will need more intensive socialisation training to ensure they can cope with daily life as a pet. If puppies have already met other dogs, domestic animals and people they will have more confidence than those that have not.
- Can I return the puppy if there are any health problems? You should take your new puppy to a vet for a health check within 48 hours. A good breeder will offer to take the puppy back at any point should you be unable to keep him.
- Is the puppy Kennel Club registered? If so, make sure you are given the registration certificate and pedigree when you pick up your puppy. You should also get some free health insurance for the first few weeks.
If you have any doubts about a breeder you have met with or spoken to, please inform the ISPCA Inspectorate immediately. You can call their National Helpline in the strictest of confidence on 1890 515 515