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  • How to avoid problems finding a new pup.

It hasn't been widely advertised but did you know this week the Kennel Club are running Puppy Awareness Week to try and highlight the perils of getting a pup from a Puppy Farm?  Also did you know that tail docking has been illegal in the UK since 2007 unless strict guidelines are adhered too?

The Kennel Club's national Puppy Awareness Week (PAW) aims to make sure that puppies live healthy, happy lives with suitable owners. Make sure that you get the right dog for your lifestyle and that you buy from a reputable breeder and not mistakenly buying from a puppy farm.

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 shows that as many as one in three may have unknowingly bought from a puppy farm, after sourcing their puppy online, on social media, in pet shops or through free newspaper ads - outlets often used by puppy farmers. One in five pups bought online or in pet shops need long-term veterinary care or die before six months old*.

*Research conducted in August 2013 by Atomik, on behalf of the Kennel Club, and is based on 2,026 responses.

To stop Puppy Farming make sure that you don't buy from a puppy farmer, or from an ill-informed and unknowledgeable breeder, who has not taken all of the steps to give your puppy the best chance in life.  If you are unfortunate to visit a breeder and find the pups are in a poor condition please do not buy a pup no matter how hard it is.  The best course of action is to report the breeder to the RSPCA, buying the pup and rescuing it just feeds this industry and allows more puppies to be bred.  If pups aren't making any money then Puppy Farming will go out of business.

Click here for advice on the Do's and Don'ts of puppy buying or come into the practice and collect a free puppy pack which contains lots of useful bits and pieces.  The Dogs Trust also have lots of helpful information too.

Docked puppies.

When buying a pup, if it is a working dog and has been docked, it must have a docking certificate as a legal requirement.  This document must be signed by the vet who performed the docking.

Many people do not realise that all dog breeds are born with a tail, but historically certain breeds had their tails removed (docked) at a young age.  This often involved an untrained person removing tails without pain relief or sterilisation techniques.  The tail obviously contains the spinal cord so this is a painful procedure.  If allowed to become infected can result in meningitis.  Worse still if not performed properly the end of the tail can form a neuroma which is a painful bundle of abnormal nerve tissue within the scar tissue.  Docked too short and the poor pup can suffer from incontinence and hernias too.

In 2007 the law changed to improve puppy welfare but the rules are slightly complicated and vary depending on if the pup is from England, Ireland, Wales or Scotland.  The Docked Puppy Advice Leaflet explains these legal requirements.

Ultimately if you are in any doubt about a puppy you are interested in please ask at the practice.  NEVER purchase a pup because you feel sorry for it - sadly this is just funding the next litter and will only create further misery.  If you have any concerns about a litter of puppies we would advise that you contact the RSPCA who have the authority to visit breeders and advise them on health and welfare standards.