Expert tips on rehoming a puppy

Whether you’re adopting or buying a puppy or dog, there are many things you need to consider before bringing your furry friend home. With this in mind, the experts at Pets4Homes the UK’s largest pet marketplace, are here to guide you through your journey.

Do your research

girl researching on a computer

Getting a new dog or puppy is a massive commitment, so make sure you have researched the breed fully and have the time and commitment necessary to care for the dog.

Dogs of different breeds can have vastly different traits and characteristics in terms of size, temperament, exercise needs and grooming needs. Note that some breeds have inherent health issues to take into consideration, and some may not be suitable for those with children. It is vital that you choose a breed that suits your personal circumstances and prior experience with dogs.

 

Always arrange a viewing of the pup

View a puppy before rehoming

Never collect a puppy without having arranged a viewing beforehand, during which you should view the puppy interacting with its mother. Breeders should be happy to coordinate your visit or video viewing of their premises so that you can see where all of the dogs are kept and examine the quality of their environment.

Be sure to see all dogs while at the breeder’s home, including those that are pregnant and nursing litters, as well as the breeder’s own pet dogs. The premises should be clean, well-cared for, and look to be the dogs’ home, as opposed to being a display area where dogs are shown to buyers.

If you’re viewing a puppy virtually, make sure that it’s a live video, and not pre-recorded by the breeder.

 

Is the puppy over eight weeks of age?

a puppy

Puppies must be at least eight weeks old and fully weaned before they can leave their mothers. Most responsible sellers will keep their puppies longer than this before they let them go to new homes.

 

Confirm that the puppy is microchipped

puppy being checked for a microchip

It is required by law that all dogs are microchipped and that their owners’ details are registered and up-to-date. The breeder is responsible for microchipping the puppies and must have their details registered on the microchip database first.

Please check to make sure you receive the microchip documentation with the chip number before taking the dog or puppy home, and then arrange to transfer the microchip into your own name.

 

Check the health of the puppy at the viewing

holding puppy in arms

The puppy’s eyes should be clear and bright; no discharge should come from their eyes or nose. Also be sure to check the puppies’ bellies, as a swollen or bloated stomach is a sign of worms.

Puppies that are too thin could be undernourished. If you have serious concerns about a breeder or the conditions that they keep their dogs in, contact the local authorities who will launch an investigation.

It can however be difficult for the average person to check if a dog or puppy is healthy or not, so if you decide to adopt or buy the puppy, make sure that the breeder agrees that you can return them within 48 hours for a full refund after taking the dog or puppy to a vet of your choice for a health check.

If the puppy has already been health checked by their own vet, make sure you get evidence for this in the form of vet records and phone their vet for confirmation.

 

Check the expertise of the breeder

breeder holding puppies

Reputable breeders typically specialise in one or, at most, two breeds of dogs. Breeders should be enthusiastic and knowledgeable about this breed, and not simply breeding various types of dogs for profit.

Breeders should know the traits and tendencies of their breeds in detail, including breed-specific problems and potential health issues, that they are readily able to share with you in conversation.

 

Make sure you sign a contract

signing a contract before adopting a puppy

Before you commit to purchasing a puppy, the breeder should have a sales contract available for you to read that addresses how the breeder will support you after the sale, as well as the details of the sale itself.

When you are ready to take the puppy home, the breeder should include a blanket, toys and possibly some food with the puppy, to ensure its comfort, and be available to you throughout the following weeks of the sale to address any queries or concerns that might occur whilst the puppy is settling into their new home.

 

Take references

getting references from another dog owner

Unless you’re in conversation with a first-time breeder, each breeder should be willing and able to provide references of people who have bought puppies from their previous litters, that you can speak to directly. You can ask previous buyers about their experience with the breeder, the health of their pet, and more.

Many breeders are also active in breed-specific clubs and organisations, or for some breeds, canine sport and activities, for wider references. Word of mouth and personal recommendations by other reputable breeders is also helpful, but will of course still need to be thoroughly vetted and researched.

 

Membership in the Assured Breeder Scheme

Certain types of pedigree breeders are eligible for membership in The Kennel Club Assured Breeder Scheme. It’s always a good sign if a breeder is a member of this scheme, as The Kennel Club tracks the number of litters a breeder produces, the quality of the animals’ health, and the age of a puppy when rehomed.

That said, many popular dog breeds, like Labradoodles or Cockapoos, are not pedigreed, meaning that breeders are less likely to be certified by pedigree organisations. This, however, doesn’t mean they’re not responsible.

 

Read more: What to expect at dog training classes

Read more: How to choose the right dog breed