Finding a Dog

When it comes to getting a dog or puppy, you have several options to choose from whether it be adopting or buying. there are some simple things to know and look for to ensure you are choosing from a good and responsible source and getting a happy, healthy dog that’s just right for you!

What to look for when:

Adopting from a shelter, rescue or animal control

Adopting can be a wonderful act of compassion especially when adopting from an overcrowded shelter where you are saving a life. There are a lot of different types of facilities when adopting so do a little bit of homework. There’s a difference between city run animal control, private humane societies, humane societies that perform animal control, rescue groups, breed specific rescue groups and sanctuaries. And, those that are considered “no-kill” which means they save all animals except those too sick or aggressive to be adopted versus those that euthanize due to lack of space. Also, depending on where you live and the time of year, you might have to drive a ways to find the type of dog you are looking for.

  • Does the facility look and smell clean?
  • If possible, do they know where the dog came from? (They often don’t know this as they were found on the streets or abandoned)
  • If possible, do they know what kind of dog it is or how old it is?
  • Has it been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped?
  • Does it have any known health problems?
  • What happens if the adoption doesn’t work out?
  • Are there warranties in place to cover my costs?
  • What will happen to the dog if the adoption doesn’t work out? Will it be rehabilitated, re-homed or euthanized?

Buying from a Breeder

Obtaining a dog directly from a breeder gives you a great opportunity to learn more about your chosen breed and new puppy directly from an expert. However, do your homework and be prepared to wait for the perfect fit. Most breeders are hobbyists who work full time during the week and attend dog shows and training classes on weekends, so don’t be put off if a breeder isn’t immediately responsive to your inquiry. Also, don’t get upset if the breeder asks you a lot of questions before even agreeing to talk about specific dogs for sale or before they allow you to visit their kennel. The best breeders will want to get to know you before they allow you or their property or agree to sell you one of their puppies or dogs.

If you are able to, visit the breeder in person. Sometimes that’s not practical due to where you live and where the breeder is but the breeder should welcome visits by you or a trusted third party.

If you or someone you know is able to visit, don’t just look at the puppies. Be sure to observe the kennel’s cleanliness and the health of the older dogs. Dogs should be clean lively and friendly. Look for signs of illness such as runny nose/eyes, coughing, lethargy and skin sores.

Pay attention to how the dogs and puppies interact with their breeder. Both dogs and puppies should not shy away from the breeder and after initial excitement should not be fearful of strangers.

Find out about the health of your puppy and its parents. Breeders should be honest about the breed’s strengths and weaknesses and knowledgeable about the genetic diseases that can affect their breed – including what’s being done to avoid them. Breeders should be willing to share proof of health screenings and certificates with potential buyers.

Don’t expect to bring home the puppy until its eight to 12 weeks of age. Puppies need ample time to mature and socialize their mother and littermates. A breeder willing to sell a younger puppy is a red flag.

Breeders should be willing to answer any questions you have and should ask many questions of you as well. Breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes, with people who know what to expect and have made all the necessary preparations.

If you aren’t able to visit in person or find someone who can, ask for referrals from friends and your veterinarian and ask for customer references.

Buying from a Pet Store

Obtaining a dog directly from a breeder gives you a great opportunity to learn more about your chosen breed and new puppy directly from an expert. However, do your homework and be prepared to wait for the perfect fit. Most breeders are hobbyists who work full time during the week and attend dog shows and training classes on weekends, so don’t be put off if a breeder isn’t immediately responsive to your inquiry. Also, don’t get upset if the breeder asks you a lot of questions before even agreeing to talk about specific dogs for sale or before they allow you to visit their kennel. The best breeders will want to get to know you before they allow you or their property or agree to sell you one of their puppies or dogs.

If you are able to, visit the breeder in person. Sometimes that’s not practical due to where you live and where the breeder is but the breeder should welcome visits by you or a trusted third party.

If you or someone you know is able to visit, don’t just look at the puppies. Be sure to observe the kennel’s cleanliness and the health of the older dogs. Dogs should be clean lively and friendly. Look for signs of illness such as runny nose/eyes, coughing, lethargy and skin sores.

Pay attention to how the dogs and puppies interact with their breeder. Both dogs and puppies should not shy away from the breeder and after initial excitement should not be fearful of strangers.

Find out about the health of your puppy and its parents. Breeders should be honest about the breed’s strengths and weaknesses and knowledgeable about the genetic diseases that can affect their breed – including what’s being done to avoid them. Breeders should be willing to share proof of health screenings and certificates with potential buyers.

Don’t expect to bring home the puppy until its eight to 12 weeks of age. Puppies need ample time to mature and socialize their mother and littermates. A breeder willing to sell a younger puppy is a red flag.

Breeders should be willing to answer any questions you have and should ask many questions of you as well. Breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes, with people who know what to expect and have made all the necessary preparations.

If you aren’t able to visit in person or find someone who can, ask for referrals from friends and your veterinarian and ask for customer references.

  • Does the store look and smell clean?
  • Does the puppy look and smell clean from head to tail?
  • Is the staff knowledgeable?
  • Are they able to provide you with education on the proper care and needs of the puppy?

Questions to ask:

  • Where did the puppy come from?
  • Is it a USDA licensed and inspected breeder? Do they have any violations?
  • Do you visit the breeding facilities you buy from?
  • Do you have a list of breeders you won’t buy from?
  • Does a veterinarian examine the puppies when you receive them?
  • Are your puppies up-to-date on vaccinations and do you have records?
  • What is your screening process for hereditary issues?
  • Are your puppies exercised?
  • What is their daily care routine?
  • Have they been socialized with other puppies, dogs and people?
  • Do you offer a guarantee on my puppy’s health?
  • Do they offer training support or follow up veterinary care?

Buying from a Friend or Neighbor

Need we say anything? Make sure you like them and they treat their pets well!