Puppy Awareness Week 2017

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The kennel club is working hard to raise awareness about buying puppies by holding it’s National Puppy Awareness Week (PAW) from 4th to the 10th September 2017. It aims to make sure that puppies live healthy, happy lives with suitable owners. The aim is to educate potential puppy owners, in the hope that they will buy puppies from reputable breeders or rescue centres and not from puppy farms. Puppies from puppy farms are bred with no regard for their health and well-being and are kept in appalling, unsanitary conditions.

Kennel Club research (*) shows that shockingly

  • 49% of puppies that are purchased online or from newspaper ads, without being seen first, fall sick and around 1 in 5 of those puppies end up with serious gastrointestinal problems.
  • One in five people who bought a puppy online or from a newspaper advertisement are forced to spend between £500 and £1,000 on vet bills in the first six months of the puppy’s life – this is often more than the original cost of the puppy
  • 37% (over one third) of people who ended up with a sick puppy after buying online or from newspaper adverts experienced financial problems due to the costs of having their puppy treated by a veterinary practice in order to help it get better.
  • 37% of puppies that were bought online or from a newspaper advert without being seen first, were bought as a spur of the moment decision, with almost two thirds being bought solely because of the way they looked.
  • Buying a puppy from a responsible breeder can cost owners 18%  less in unplanned veterinary fees and more importantly, the puppies are less likely to need to visit the vet for an illness in the first few months.

* Source 

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What you don’t see when you buy a puppy without seeing it with it’s mother and siblings.

Pup Aid 2017

This event will be held at Primrose Hill, London, on Saturday 2nd Pup AidSeptember this year from 10am until 5pm

Each year this very special day gives the dog-loving public, the golden opportunity to help raise awareness about the UK’s cruel puppy farming trade by attending this amazing celebrity judged fun dog show. It will be a fun day out for the whole family and a chance to get to know other dog lovers.

For more information check out the link at the bottom of this article or #PupAid2017 on twitter.

Before buying a puppy do your homework first and ask yourself

  1. Can you afford to look after a puppy, purchase pet insurance and pay the vets bills? – Research has shown that a dog can cost approximately £12000 or more in it’s lifetime. It is unfair to expect animal charities to cover your vets bills if you can’t afford to look after a puppy.
  2. Do you have enough time to devote to your puppy? – It will need quality time for exercise, training and socialisation every day of it’s life. Puppies should never be left alone for more than an hour or two and adult dogs should not be left alone for longer than four hours.
  3. Who will look after your puppy when you are on holiday or if you get sick? Kennels and dog sitters are expensive, costing around £8.00 – £20.00 per day.
  4. What breed of dog you are looking for and is it right for your lifestyle? If you lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle then active breeds such as Huskies, Collies, Spaniels and Labradors may not be the right choice for you. If you have children at home careful research should be done into your breed of choice.
  5. Do you want a pedigree dog with papers or just a certain breed or crossbred or ‘designer breed’? If you are thinking of buying a ‘designer dog breed’, remember that they often come with a hefty price tag despite just being crossbreeds (and there are often many of these breeds in rescue centres already). The aim of these breeders is often to get a cute looking dog with no regard for the fact that they may be breeding hereditary problems or bad traits from both parents into the puppies. Labradoodles for example, are often bought by people because they’ve been told that the breed does not shed fur and so are great for allergy sufferers. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing for sure if the puppy will not shed much fur (like a Poodle), or will shed a great deal of fur  (like a Labrador).

When buying a puppy  

Even if you are buying a crossbreed puppy you still need to do your research

  • Try to visit several breeders so that you can pick the best puppy for you.
  • Always visit the breeder’s home to meet the litter.
  • See the mother interacting with her litter
  • See the mother feeding her litter
  • Ask to handle the puppies if they are over 4 weeks old (wash your hands first)
  • Check that the puppies and mother are looking healthy, lively and happy
  • Handle the mother so you can get an idea of her temperament  and a good idea of how big the puppy will grow. It is not always possible, but if you get the opportunity you should meet the father too.
  • Ask about how the puppies will be socialised and what experiences they will have had before they come home to you (will they have seen lots of people, travelled in a car, experienced household noises such as the washing machine and vacuum cleaner).
  • Ask about the type of food the puppies will be weaned on and where you can get it from.
  • Ask whether the parents have been routinely vaccinated, flea treated and wormed. A puppy with un-vaccinated parents or a heavy parasite burden is much more likely to be susceptible to illness.
  • Don’t become overwhelmed by the cuteness of the puppies in the first litter you visit! If things don’t feel 100% right to you walk away.
  • Be prepared to wait for the right puppy it will be worth it.
  • Never buy out of sympathy for the pups or the conditions they are being kept in your purchase will just make a space for the next puppy and continue to fund this process.

See mum nursing her pups

For pedigree puppies (and designer crossbreeds) 

  • Ask about any genetic/hereditary problems in the breed and what tests have been done to ensure that the parents don’t have these. A good breeder will have no problems discussing these issues with you and will have had the appropriate tests done on the parents.
  • Expect to pay more for a well bred puppy, whose parents have had and passed all the relevant tests for their breed. At least you will know that your puppy is less at risk of certain breed related problems and hereditary illnesses.
  • Ask around to find out how much you should be paying for a puppy with a good pedigree. As a general rule you get what you pay for so if that price tag seems too good to be true it probably is!
  • You will need to obtain a pedigree certificate and a contract of sale when you take your new pet home with you. If a puppy does not come with kennel club papers you should not be paying top price for it.

Whatever type of puppy you are buying, you should expect to be asked lots of questions about your home and lifestyle from the dog breeder. This shows that they care about where the puppy are going and how you will look after it.

A good breeder will also ask you to spend time with adult dogs of the same breed and chat to other owners so that you know exactly what you are letting yourself in for! This is particularly important if you have chosen one of the less common breeds.

See mum interacting with her pups

Puppies from rescue centres

If you get your puppy from a rescue centre the above requests and questions may not apply. Often puppies have been abandoned so the staff may not know any background history, and may only be able to give an educated guess at the breed and likely temperament. Most of the larger rescue centres do a great job of matching puppies to owners and often perform behavioural assessments on puppies, so don’t be put off by the lack of history here. You may also be surprised to hear that there are many pedigree and desirable crossbreed puppies and youngsters that have found their way into rescue centres.

Labrador pup

All puppies should be microchipped – it is the law in England

All puppies must now be microchipped and registered on an approved database by the time they go to their new homes. Ensure that the breeder/rescue centre gives you all of the relevant paperwork when you collect your puppy, so that you can transfer the ownership.

lab-puppies-for-sale

Don’t buy from Pet Shops or Garden Centres, they will almost certainly come from puppy farms

Avoid falling into the ‘puppy farm’ trap

  • Remember that no responsible, caring breeder (whether of pedigrees or crossbreeds) would ever sell their puppies through a third party such as a pet shop or via websites like Gumtree.
  • Never buy from any breeder that has more than two bitches with puppies at any one time. With this many animals they cannot possibly cater to every puppy’s individual requirements, socialisation and habituation needs.
  • Always buy puppies that have been raised in a household environment rather than a shed or barn. Outdoor puppies will not have been used to much human contact or common household noises and events, which can make them fearful and nervous and can lead to behavioural problems.
  • Always see the mother interacting with the puppies – if you cant see the mother with the puppies how do you know the dog they are showing you is the mother of that litter?
  • Never accept excuses about the mother being out for a walk or sick – if you don’t see the mother how do you know that she has a good temperament?
  • Never let the breeder bring the puppy to you – if they offer this how will you know anything about the environment they have grown up in or the temperament of the parents?
  • Don’t buy puppies from pet shops or garden centres – these puppies are usually from puppy farms and you will have no idea about their history, temperament or if their parents suffered from any genetic disease or conditions. They will also have been placed in a very stressful environment during their sensitive socialisation period, which is not the best start in life.

IF YOU VISIT PUPPIES AND YOU SUSPECT THAT IT IS A PUPPY FARM, PLEASE DO NOT BUY A PUPPY OUT OF SYMPATHY. ANY PURCHASE WILL ONLY ENCOURAGE THESE PEOPLE TO CARRY ON BREEDING. YOU SHOULD CONTACT THE RSPCA IF YOU FEEL THAT THE ADULT DOGS OR PUPPIES ARE BEING NEGLECTED AT ALL. 

 

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Click this image to visit the kennel club PAW site

At Castle Vets in Reading we offer free clinics so that you can get the best advice from one of our veterinary nurses on where to look for a puppy, what breeds might be suitable for you and what costs may be involved in keeping a puppy. We are also happy to discuss this over the phone. Please contact us for an appointment or if you would like advice on any aspect of pet care.

Further Information

Thinking Of Getting A New Pet – Our guide to what you need to think about first

How to look for your new pet – our guide to how to find the right pet and what you should look out for

Puppy Awareness Week – Kennel Club Information Page

PupAid – Pupaid events 2017

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Puppy Awareness Week (PAW) 7th – 14th September

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The kennel club is working hard to raise awareness about buying puppies by holding it’s National Puppy Awareness Week (PAW) from 7th to 14th September 2013. It aims to make sure that puppies live healthy, happy lives with suitable owners. The Kennel Club wants to educate potential puppy owners in the hope that they will buy puppies from reputable breeders or rescue centres and not from puppy farms. Puppies from puppy farms are bred with no regard for their health and well-being and are kept in appalling, unsanitary conditions.

Kennel Club research from 2013 

Commenting that the nation is “sleepwalking into a dog welfare and consumer crisis”, the Kennel Club warns that owners are the ones left paying the price, either with long-term veterinary treatment or with their pet’s early death.

  • As many as one in three people may have unknowingly bought from a puppy farm. This is because puppies were sourced on-line, on social media, in pet shops or through newspaper ads, which are often used by puppy farmers for advertising their stock.
  • One in five puppies that have been bought on-line or in pet shops need long-term veterinary care or die before six months old.
  • Breeders who are producing fashionable cross-breeds such as Cockerpoos (Cocker Spaniel x Poodle) and Labradoodles (Labrador X Poodle), are most likely to flout responsible breeding.
  • There has been an overall increase by more than 10% in puppies being bought from outlets that are commonly used by puppy farmers in the past year.
220110puppyfarmdog1

What you don’t see

Before buying a puppy do your homework and ask yourself

  1. Can you afford to look after a puppy, purchase pet insurance and pay the vets bills? – Research has shown that a dog can cost approximately £12000 or more in it’s lifetime. It is unfair to expect animal charities to cover your vets bills if you can’t afford to look after a puppy.
  2. Do you have enough time to devote to your puppy? – It will need quality time for exercise, training and socialisation every day of it’s life.
  3. Who will look after your puppy when you are on holiday or if you get sick? Kennels and dog sitters are expensive, costing around £8.00-£20.00 per day.
  4. What breed of dog you are looking for and is it right for your lifestyle? If you lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle then active breeds such as Huskies, Collies and Labradors may not be the right choice for you. If you have children at home careful research should be done into your breed of choice.
  5. Do you want a pedigree dog with papers or just a certain breed or cross breed or ‘designer breed’? If you are thinking of buying a ‘designer dog breed’, remember that they often come with a hefty price tag despite just being crossbreeds. The aim of these breeders is often to get a cute looking dog with no regard for the fact that they may be breeding hereditory problems or bad traits from both parent lines into the puppies. Labradoodles for example, are often bought by people because they’ve been told that the breed does not shed fur and so are great for allergy sufferers. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing for sure if the puppy will not shed much fur (like a Poodle), or will shed a great deal of fur  (like a Labrador).

When buying a puppy  

  • Do your research, ask around to find good breeders by visiting the kennel club or breed forums on the internet
  • Try to visit several breeders so that you can pick the best puppy for you.
  • Always visit the breeders home to meet the litter.
  • See the mother with her litter.
  • Handle the puppies if they are over 4 weeks old (wash your hands first)
  • Check that the puppies and mother are looking healthy, lively and happy
  • Handle the mother so you can get an idea of her temperament  and a good idea of how big the puppy will grow. It is not always possible, but if you get the opportunity you should meet the father too).
  • Ask about how the puppies will be socialised and what experiences they will have had before they come home to you (will they have seen lots of people, travelled in a car, experienced household noises such as the washing machine and vacuum cleaner).
  • Ask about the type of food the puppies will be weaned on and where you can get it from.
  • Ask whether the parents have been routinely vaccinated, flea treated and wormed. A puppy with un-vaccinated parents or a heavy parasite burden is much more likely to be susceptible to illness.
  • Don’t become overwhelmed by the cuteness of the puppies in the first litter you visit! If things don’t feel 100% right to you walk away, the right puppy is always worth waiting for.
  • Be prepared to wait for the right puppy and never buy out of sympathy.

For pedigree puppies

  • Ask about any genetic/hereditary problems in the breed and what tests have been done to ensure that the parents don’t have these. A good breeder will have no problems discussing these issues with you and will have had the appropriate tests done on the parents.
  • Expect to pay more for a well bred puppy, whose parents have had and passed all the relevant tests for their breed. At least you will know that your puppy is less at risk of certain breed related problems and hereditary illnesses.
  • Ask around to find out how much you should be paying for a puppy with a good pedigree. As a general rule you get what you pay for so if that price tag seems too good to be true it probably is!
  • You will need to obtain a pedigree certificate and a contract of sale when you take your new pet home with you. If a puppy does not come with kennel club papers you should not be paying top price for it.

You should expect to be asked lots of questions about your home and lifestyle from the dog breeder. This shows that they care about where the puppy are going and how you will look after it.

A good breeder will also ask you to spend time with adult dogs of the same breed and chat to other owners so that you know exactly what you are letting yourself in for! This is particularly important if you have chosen one of the less common breeds.

Puppies from rescue centres

If you get your puppy from a rescue centre the above requests and questions may not apply. Often puppies have been abandoned so the staff may not know any background history, and may only be able to give an educated guess at the breed and likely temperament. Most of the larger rescue centres do a great job of matching puppies to owners and often perform behavioural assessments on puppies, so don’t be put off by the lack of history here.

labrador-retriever

Avoid falling into the ‘puppy farm’ trap

  • Never buy from any breeder that has more than two breeds of dogs with puppies at any one time. With this many animals they cannot possibly cater to every puppy’s individual requirements, socialisation and habituation needs.
  • Always buy puppies that have been raised in a household environment rather than a shed or barn. Outdoor puppies will not have been used to much human contact or common household noises and events, which can make them fearful and nervous and can lead to behavioural problems.
  • Always see the mother interacting with the puppies – if you cant see the mother with the puppies how do you know the dog they are showing you is the mother of that litter?
  • Never accept excuses about the mother being out for a walk or sick – if you don’t see the mother how do you know that she has a good temperament?
  • Never let the breeder bring the puppy to you – if they offer this how will you know anything about the environment they have grown up in or the temperament of the parents?
  • Don’t buy puppies from pet shops or garden centres – these puppies are usually from puppy farms and you will have no idea about their history, temperament or if their parents suffered from any genetic disease or conditions.
lab-puppies-for-sale

Avoid buying from pet shops or garden centres

If you travel to look at some puppies and you suspect that it is a puppy farm, please do not buy a puppy out of sympathy. Any purchase will only encourage these people to carry on breeding. You should contact the RSPCA if you feel that the adult dogs or puppies are being neglected at all. 
Image

Click this image to visit the kennel club PAW site

At Castle Vets in Reading we offer clinics so that you can get the best advice from one of our veterinary nurses on where to look for a puppy, what breeds might be suitable for you and what costs may be involved in keeping a puppy. We are also happy to discuss this over the phone. Please contact us for an appointment or if you would like advice on any aspect of pet care.

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Castle Vets Guide To Getting A New Pet

lots of pets

New year, new pet?  It’s great if you are  considering a new addition to your family, but there are a few things to think about before your commit to and bring home your new bundle of fun and cuteness.

Cost

piggy bank

Can you afford the costs necessary to give your chosen pet the correct care? The average annual costs of owning a pet can be quite high and have been estimated at £1000 – £1500 for a dog, £1000 for a cat, £400 – £500 for a ferret, £500 for a rabbit and £400 for a guinea pig. (For cats and dogs that amounts to approximately £12000 – £18000 over a lifetime!) You will need to think about the costs of providing food, bedding, Housing for small animals, a bed, routine vet bills and pet insurance for accidents and illnesses.

Size of the petsize of pet

Do you have enough space at home and in the garden for your chosen pet? Even small pets like hamsters and rats require fairly big cages. Where will your pet eat, drink and sleep? The size of the pet will also effect how expensive it will be  for vet bills, insurance, food, housing and equipment.

 

Breed of pet

Different breeds of animals often have very different personality traits so you should consider what your pet has been bred to do in the past before making your decision; for example everyone loves the look of the sweet-natured Dalmatian or the handsome Siberian Husky, but forget that these dogs were originally bred to run for miles and have huge amounts of stamina so, therefore, require lots and lots of exercise. Terriers have been bred for their ability to dispatch rodent pests quickly so don’t be surprised at their feisty and bold behaviour. In the cat world the Siamese can be very vocal, Maine Coons are known for being very affectionate and Bengals can be very destructive when they get bored. With rabbits the Dwarf-Lop is generally friendly and outgoing where as Netherland Dwarfs can be very skittish and are generally unsuitable for children.

breeds copy

Coat types and grooming

Most pets will require grooming of some sort and you will need to check their coats, mouths, ears, eyes and bottoms every day to make sure they are clean and healthy.
Pets with long coats will require daily grooming to prevent matting and you will need to consider if you will have the time to do this. Some animals shed lots of fur which may not be good for allergy sufferers.

long haired pets

Time

Do you have enough time to keep your chosen pet properly exercised and mentally stimulated? Exercise is really important for the health, fitness and well-being of your pet and you will also need to spend time with your pet so you can play with it and provide any training it might need.
All dogs need at least 2 20 minute walks a day (most breeds need much more than this) and the opportunity to run about off the lead in a safe area and meet other dogs if they are socially inclined. Depending on the breed of dog you choose, you may need to provide activities such as agility and training classes to keep it fit and stimulated.
In an ideal world a cat should be able to get outside, but if you have decided to keep your cat indoors then you must provide adequate mental stimulation for it and it will need much more of your time than an outside cat would to prevent boredom.
Rabbits, guinea pigs and ferrets need an outside enclosed run or they can be exercised on harnesses in safe areas.

Exercise

Genetic problems

cat ok

Some breeds of animals have inherited genetic problems and this should be researched before you get a pet as these problems can cost a lot of money to treat. For  example hip dysplasia, heart disease, respiratory problems, eye problems and dental problems. If you are buying from a breeder you should always ask if the parents have been tested for disease and problems associated with the breed.

Once you have decided on a type and breed of pet you need to start looking for places to get one from and there are several options.

Pedigree Breeders

These are ideal if you are looking for a specific breed of pet. A good breeder will normally do a home check and ask lots of questions to make sure you can provide a suitable home for your new pet. Do your research regarding the average cost of the breed you are interested in and expect to pay quite a lot for rarer breeds. The Kennel Club has a list of breed clubs and breeders for puppies (http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/2101) and is a good place to start looking.

You should always follow these check lists if you are buying a puppy, kitten or rabbit from a breeder.

Dogs, Cats and Rabbits

  • Always visit the breeders home to meet the litter.
  • See the mother with her litter
  • Handle the litter (as long as they are over 4 weeks old)
  • Are the litter and mother looking healthy and happy
  • Ask about any genetic/hereditary problems in the breed and what tests have been done to ensure that the parents don’t have these. A good breeder will have no problems discussing these issues with you and will have had the appropriate tests done on the parents.
  • Expect lots of questions from a breeder that cares about where the pets are going to and how you will look after them.
  • Ask about the type of food they will be weaned on to
  • Ask whether the parents have been routinely vaccinated, flea treated and wormed
  • You will need to obtain a pedigree certificate and a contract of sale when you take your new pet home with you
  • Don’t be overwhelmed by the cuteness of the animals in the first litter you visit! If things don’t feel 100% right to you walk away, the right pet is worth waiting for.

Cats Only

  • Ask if the parents tested for Feline immunodeficiency virus and Feline Leukaemia before mating

Dogs only

  • Handle the mother so you can get an idea of her temperament (it is not always possible but if you get the opportunity, meet the father too)
  • Ask about how the puppies will be socialised and what experiences they will have had before they come home to you (will they have seen lots of people, travelled in a car, experienced household noises such as the washing machine and vacuum cleaner).
  • A good breeder will ask you to spend time with adult dogs of the same breed and chat to other owners so that you know exactly what you are letting yourself in for! This is particularly important if you have chosen one of the less common breeds.

mums and babies

Hobby and ‘Accidental’ Breeders

These may be owners who have decided to breed a one-off litter from their pet or their pet has had an accidental mating. All of the same guidelines above should apply when you are visiting and asking questions of the owner. If the pets are crossbreeds you should also try and find out what the breeds are so you will have an idea about how big your new pet may grow.

Rescue Centers

These places have lots of pets in need of new homes and are a good place to start if you don’t want a pedigree animal. They may visit your home and ask lots of questions to make sure you can provide a suitable home for your new pet and that you understand how to care for it correctly.
Some places to try are
http://www.woodgreen.org.uk/
http://www.battersea.org.uk/
http://rspca-reading.org.uk/
http://www.bluecross.org.uk/1710/adopt-an-animal.html
http://www.dbarc.org.uk/
http://www.cats.org.uk/adopt-a-cat

NEVER Buy From Puppy  ‘Farms’

220110puppyfarmdog1

These are commercial dog breeding facilities that are operated with an emphasis on profits above animal welfare and are often in substandard conditions regarding the well-being of animals in their care. The animals from these places are not looked after properly and will not have been bred for good temperaments and health. Some times puppies are then sold on to middle parties or pet shops before being sold on to new owners. 


To avoid falling into the puppy ‘farm’ trap

  • Don’t buy from any breeder that has more than two breeds of dogs with puppies
  • Always buy puppies that have been raised in a household environment rather than a shed or barn (these puppies will not have been used to human contact or common household noises and events, which can make them fearful and nervous and can lead to behavioural problems)
  • Always see the mother with the puppies – if you cant see the mother with the pups how do you know she is the mother? Don’t accept excuses about the mother being out for a walk or sick – if you don’t see the mother how do you know that she has a good temperament?
  • Never let the breeder bring the puppy to you – if they offer this how will you know anything about the environment they have grown up in or the temperament of the parents?
  • Don’t buy puppies from pet shops or garden centres – these puppies are usually from puppy farms and you will have no idea about their history, temperament or if their parents suffered from any genetic disease or conditions.

If you find yourself at what you suspect is a puppy farm, please do not buy a puppy out of sympathy because any purchase will only encourage these people to continue. If you feel that the adult dogs or puppies are being neglected in any way contact the RSPCA.

145I1033_-1669_25

Castle Vets Reading hope this guide is useful to anyone considering getting a new pet. For further advice you can telephone the surgery and speak to, or make an appointment with, one of our veterinary nurses who will be happy to discuss breed types and personality traits of pets with you before you buy. You can contact us by telephone: 0118 9574488  or by email:  castlenurse2012@gmail.com