Selecting your next family pet is no small decision, and if you decide on a dog, you are looking at a possible commitment for the next 10-20 years. To get the most from your relationship, it’s important to research the best breed of dog to suit your lifestyle and family, along with the best timing for your new addition. Once that’s decided, it’s time to responsibly search for your new family pet.
Your BBB offers some tips to help with responsibly finding a dog for your family.
- Consider starting at a local rescue – Per the humane society’s website, one in every four dogs in an animal shelter is a purebred and mixed breed dogs can also make great pets. They also note that most dogs lose their homes to due to “people” reasons, such as moves, divorce, lack of time or allergies versus the actual behavior of the dog.
- Locate a responsible, local breeder – If you haven’t found your best fit at a shelter or have more specific needs in a pet, it might be time to look into a reputable breeder. Breeders don’t often sell dogs to the first person showing up with cash though, so be prepared for a process. To look for a quality breeder, seek those who breed only one or a few types of dogs and are knowledgeable about the breeds and their special requirements. Expect to explain why you want a dog, show proof from your landlord or condominium board that you are allowed to have a dog and provide a reference from your veterinarian, if you have other pets. BBB Business Reviews, local, state and national clubs, as well as trainers, can help point you in the right direction.
- Ask for references – Once you’ve found a breeder you are considering, ask about visiting their facility. This is a good way to learn about the treatment of the animals and where they spend their time. Also ask for references and try to speak with those who have had their pet for a while, to learn of any issues that might have not been immediately apparent upon purchase.
- Be cautious with out of area options – Unless you can personally visit the breeding facility or shelter, or can bring your dog home yourself, avoid out of area (including international) options. When dogs are transported or shipped from out of the area, it is difficult to know as much about their care, their health, their age and other details that can be important. Remember that flashy websites do not guarantee trustworthy sellers and that scam operator’s websites can disappear over night.
- Other items for consideration – Even if you have registration papers, a dog may develop health concerns or a temperament inconsistent with their breed, so have a plan in place should things not go as planned. Talk to the shelter or breeder about an acceptable trial period and expect that there will be a time of transition and learning, for both you and your dog.
Ask for all medical records including the documents for any pedigreed pets upfront, and then take all records to your veterinarian for their first examination. Make sure to schedule this vet visit within a few days of bringing your dog home.
For more tips you can trust, visit bbbconsumereducation.com.