‘Paws for Thought’ before you buy a puppy

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‘Paws for Thought’ before considering buying a puppy… that’s the message set out in a new campaign to raise awareness around illegally bred dogs and what to look out for when buying a puppy.

The multi-agency campaign aims to raise awareness ahead of the potentially increased demand for puppies coming up to Christmas.

Things to look out for when buying a puppy:

- Buy a dog from a known breeder and be cautious when buying a dog that has been advertised in the media, such as on the internet, in a local paper or on a notice board.

- Check the dog’s history by talking to its previous owner and asking to see relevant documents, including the dog’s vaccination certificate.

- If you have any doubts about a dog, you should speak to a vet before agreeing to buy it.

When buying a puppy, you should:

- Only buy a puppy aged at least eight weeks old.

- See the puppy with its mother.

- Make sure the breeder/seller can give you an official pedigree detailing the ancestry of the puppy’s father and mother.

- Make sure the breeder/seller can give you important details about the specific health needs of your puppy, such as which vaccinations it has been given and which ones it is yet to have.

- If the puppy does not come from where it’s bought, ask where it came from and try to get its previous history as buying from an illegal breeder may mean that your new puppy was illegally imported into Northern Ireland.

- Make sure the breeder has prepared the puppy for the world around it - this is called ‘socialisation’ and include activities like gently handling the puppy, introducing it to noise and varieties of human contact and mixing it with other puppies.

If you suspect an illegal breeding establishment ring 03000 132 132 and for a welfare concern, please ring 028 82 256226.