Puppy Mill Problems

If you’re considering getting a new puppy there are a lot of options.  One of them is buying from a ‘puppy mill.’  A puppy mill is usually considered to be a substandard breeding facility that produces large numbers of puppies annually.  They may supply puppies of many different breeds.

Some of these facilities are licensed by the government and inspected by the USDA.  Care and conditions must meet certain criteria.  Others fly under the radar and go without inspections.  Inspected kennels may produce healthy puppies which receive vaccinations and are then trucked to pet stores at a young age.  Kennels which operate without inspections may sell directly to buyers.  Since they are operating without inspections it is more likely that the facilities are deficient and the conditions for the dogs are poor.  These are the ‘puppy mills’ you sometimes see in videos and on TV in undercover investigations.

If you buy a puppy from one of these poor facilities odds are that the puppy could have begun life with many problems.  The puppy is likely to be the victim of breeding from poor quality parents who may exhibit health and genetic problems, dirty conditions, cramped quarters, perhaps no early vaccinations or worming, and the list goes on.

All puppies are adorable, but a puppy’s mother and her health are extremely important.  So are his surroundings in the first few weeks life.  A puppy who gets off to a bad start in poor puppy mill surroundings can have health or behavioral problems that last the rest of his life.  It is possible to buy a healthy dog from these sources but many people buying from puppy mills have bought unhealthy puppies.  Some puppies may even die soon after purchase.

Puppies in pet stores may come from several sources including licensed commercial breeders and inferior puppy mills.  There may be no way to tell the difference in the pet store.  Even looking at the puppy’s registration papers will not tell you what type of breeder or kennel produced the puppy.  Purchasing a puppy in a pet store also encourages people to make impulse purchases which is never a good idea where a dog is concerned.  That cute little ball of fur may grow up to be a 100 pound pet who can eat you out of house and home.

If you are seeking a new purebred puppy consider going to a reputable breeder.  Contact the breed parent club for the breed and they can put you in touch with people who are expecting litters.  Reputable breeders perform health testing on their dogs before they choose which dogs to breed to make sure they are fit to breed.  Puppies raised in a home environment receive much more socialization, love and personal care than any commercially-raised puppy can ever receive.  Reputable breeders also carefully screen potential buyers and guarantee their puppies for health problems in the breed.

Breed parent clubs can also tell you about purebred rescue if you might be interested in a young adult or an older dog.  There are nearly always purebred dogs available in rescue looking for great homes.

Puppy Mill Problems courtesy Dog Articles.

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Important Information On Dog Breeding

Some dog owners extend their love for animals into an interest in breeding their dog. Breeding is more of a responsibility than a passing interest, and as such, there are a few things to consider before immersing yourself and your dog in the process. This short checklist identifies some helpful pointers which will increase the odds of a successful breeding experience.

Consider your dog’s age, breed, and health status. To begin with, veterinarians recommend not breeding dogs that are less than eighteen months old. This allows you as an owner the opportunity to schedule tests that rule out any genetic defects or conditions they could pass on to their offspring. It also makes sure that your female is physically mature enough to carry a litter of puppies.

There are also health issues which can affect your decision to breed your dog.

These health concerns can be general, as in the case of brucellosis (a bacterial infection spread among breeding dogs that can contribute to infertility, abortion, or stillborn puppies), or a male dog may simply not be fertile.

Alternatively, they can be specific to certain breeds. Dachshunds and Basset Hounds have long spines and short legs, for instance, making them prone to back problems as they age. Retrievers, Shepherds, and Great Danes frequently develop hip dysplasia, easily confirmed by x-rays. Collies are predisposed to two eye disorders, Collie Eye Anomaly and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Testing your dog before breeding will let you know if he is carrying any of these conditions. If he is, then he’s not a good candidate for parenthood.

Regular treatment for heartworm, intestinal worms and fleas, as well as standard vaccinations to protect against the most common viruses (parvovirus, parainfluenza, distemper, hepatitis, and leptospirosis) are essential to keep your animal in good health for breeding. In addition, good nutrition and regular exercise are important in increasing the chances of  producing healthy puppies.

Pay a visit to your veterinarian to make sure there aren’t any potential problems that need to be addressed before deciding to breed your dog.

Finally, you should carefully consider the reasons behind your decision to breed a dog. If money from the sale of purebred puppies is the sole source of inspiration, consider the expenses involved from beginning to end.

Stud fees, genetic testing, veterinary care, a possible cesarean delivery, and the cost of feeding, worming, and vaccinating puppies will quickly eat into any profits you may earn. Unless you’ve spent considerable time and effort researching such a venture, you must be prepared for these costs, and be prepared to make a financial loss from a litter.

Another poor reason for breeding is to obtain a dog just like the one you already have. This isn’t likely to happen, because your pups are just as likely to resemble the other parent, or have characteristics that are a mixture of both parents.

A more sensible approach to dog breeding relies on selecting characteristics that you hope to pass on to future generations of the breed. Each breeding should be carefully planned to result in puppies that are an improvement on the generation before. This is how dog breeds are continually improved.

Breeding dogs is a rewarding pastime, but make sure your motives are honorable, and you have the health and well being of your dog and its breed foremost in your mind.

Important Information On Dog Breeding courtesy Dog Articles.

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6 Ways To Find A Good Veterinarian

Good veterinarians are hard to come by.  It’s getting harder to find the country vet who knows all about you and your dog and can tell you all of the local gossip.  Vets who offered discounts for multiple pets and client loyalty are disappearing.  In his place we have vets with more sophisticated equipment but often less time for you and your dog.  He or she may see lots of clients every day and be part of a large practice.  You may not see the same vet each time you go to the offices.

How can you find a good veterinarian these days?  Here are a few tips.

1.  Ask around.  Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find a good vet.  If you have friends with pets ask them who they use and whether they like them or not.  Ask them about their experiences with the vet.  Have they been satisfied or are they looking for a new vet?  How is the vet with their dog?  (Or cat or whatever!)  You can learn a lot just by talking to a friend.

2.  Make a list of some of the things that are important to you in a vet.  Do you need a vet who specializes?  Probably not, unless you are a breeder or you have a dog with a particular health problem, but if you do need a specialist, start looking.  They can be hard to find.  Do you need a vet who will write prescriptions for you so you can buy heartworm medication online?  This can be a bone of contention with some vets so you may have to try several vets before you find one who is willing to do this for you.  It’s certainly worth pursuing because heartworm medication usually costs twice as much at the vet’s office.  Do you need a vet who handles his own emergencies?  This is becoming rare.  You may have to look far and wide for a vet like this.  Most vets now send their emergency cases to a vet emergency clinic at nights and on the weekends.

Decide what is most important to you and look for a vet who can meet your needs.

3.  Call vet offices near you and talk to the receptionists.  Better yet, go by and meet them in person.  Discuss billing arrangements.  Veterinary care can be very expensive, especially if your dog has a serious problem that requires surgery and post-op care.  What is the vet’s policy about payment?  Does he or she require you to pay upfront?  Can you make payments?  Will they turn your dog away if you can’t pay for the entire procedure ahead of time? These are important considerations and it’s best to know how your vet handles these matters before your dog is in a life or death situation.

4.  Does the vet take pet health insurance?  Some vets do take health insurance for pets now.  If so, which ones?

5.  Find out the days and office hours for the vets near you.  Do they fit your schedule?  Some vets are closed on Saturdays or may only be open half a day.  They may not stay open late through the week.  Will you be able to work with their schedule?  You can have the greatest vet in the world just down the street from you but if you have to work when they’re open it won’t do your dog any good.

6.  The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has a listing of state veterinary medical associations.  Their website is an excellent place to look for accredited vets in your area.

6 Ways To Find A Good Veterinarian courtesy Dog Articles.

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Conformation… Can I Handle My Own Dog In The Ring?

Showing dogs can be a wonderful and fun activity, whether you are very competitive or just looking for something for your family to enjoy.  People getting their first showdog have lots of questions.  One of the first things people want to know is whether or not they can handle their own dog in the ring or whether they need to hire a professional handler.  The answer depends on several factors.

Anyone at all can enter a dog show.  Anyone in good standing with a kennel club (that is, someone who has not broken the rules previously and been denied the privilege).  You don’t have to meet any particular criteria.  And any dog registered with that kennel club can be entered in a dog show held by that kennel club.  That means that if you have an AKC registered Pug you can enter your dog in any dog show sanctioned by the American Kennel Club in the United States.  You can find information about upcoming shows around the country (posted a few weeks prior to the show) on a kennel club’s web site or in magazines, pay the entry fee, and enter a show.  It’s that simple.  There is no mystery or mystique to it.  You will receive information in the mail telling you the time to be there, your ring number, and your armband number.  You then show up on the day of the show, tell the ring steward you are there so you can pick up your armband number, and go in the ring for your class so the judge can judge your dog.  That’s all there is to it.

Of course, there is a lot more to it.  In some breeds there may be a lot of dogs entered and the competition may be very fierce.  In other breeds you could be the only entry so you would almost automatically win Best of Breed.  Entries also vary around the country.  There may be lots of Irish Wolfhounds entered in California but none entered in shows in Texas, so geography can play a role in how much competition people face.  There could be ten male dogs entered and only two female dogs, so the competition would be much harder for the boys.  But at the next show it could be reversed.  It often depends on who decides to enter, or how far someone wants to drive for a show.  People may ask friends who is entering a show but this information is not always reliable.

Novices can and do show their own dogs in the showring.  They can even win.  It may take a little practice but everyone was a beginner at one time.  Amateur handlers or owner-handlers can successfully compete against professionals, especially in the breed ring where points are won for championships.  The amateur handler has the advantage of actually living with his dog and knowing him better than anyone.  Many professional handlers only “pick up” a dog the day of the dog show at ringside.  They may barely know the dog they are showing.  Professionals have excellent dog skills and grooming skills, but amateurs know their dogs and their dogs love them.

In order to successfully compete against the professional handler the amateur will have to work hard on his grooming skills, especially with longhaired dogs and terriers.  Look for books about your breed and make sure your dog is groomed to look like the show dogs pictured in it.  Ask for help from your dog’s breeder or other people who show their dogs.  Make sure toenails are kept short.  Most professional handlers show dogs with very short toenails while many amateurs have dogs with toenails that are too long.

Professionals also have expert handling skills in the ring.  Practice handling your dog.  Watch the best professional handlers and imitate them.  Go to handling classes with your dog.  You will also notice that professionals dress for success.  Many amateur handlers appear sloppy next to the professional handlers in the ring.  You can improve your chances of winning by dressing more sharply.  The overall picture you and your dog make together counts for a lot.  Practice with your dog in front of a mirror to see how you look.  Watch dog shows on TV to see how people pose your breed in the ring.  Visit a few dog shows before you enter one so you can get the hang of what goes on.

Pro handlers are not only good at what they do, they attract good dogs.  Sometimes they win because they are better handlers even when they don’t have the best dog, but many times they actually have good dogs.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that they are only beating you because the judge knows them.  They are pros for a reason.  They have been practicing their skills for a long time and people would not be hiring them if they didn’t know how to present a good dog.  Many professional handlers began showing as kids so they have a great deal of experience.  They can make a good dog look even better.  But they can still be beaten if you also have a good dog.  Groom your dog to look his best, practice your own handling skills and you have a good chance of winning.  You’ll feel great when you beat the pros.  But keep in mind that professional handlers are not the “enemy.”  Many of them are quite friendly and willing to give you tips with your dog if you speak to them after the show.

Showing dogs is fun.  Whether you are thinking about it as an activity for a youngster in your family or for yourself, it’s a great way to spend time with your dog.  You can win.  You can beat the pros.  Many amateur handlers are competing at the highest levels of the sport.  Watch the best handlers and beat them at their own game.

Conformation… Can I Handle My Own Dog In The Ring courtesy Dog Articles.

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5 Tips For Spotting A Disreputable Dog Breeder

New dog owners should always make sure that their purebred pup comes from a reputable and responsible breeder. This is really is the only way to ensure that the animal will be free of any medical or behavioral problems. If a breeder you speak with displays any of the following 5 behaviors, he or she probably isn’t breeding healthy puppies in accordance with standards that have been set for the breed.

1. The breeder is willing to sell you any puppy you want, no questions asked.

All reputable dog breeders care about what happens to each and every puppy they breed, even after it leaves their care. Indeed, a good breeder will ask you many, many questions about your lifestyle, experience with the breed, house and property size, show or breeding experience, and any other aspect of your life that may affect the puppy’s future. If your answers to these questions are not satisfactory, then the breeder probably won’t sell the puppy to you. A good breeder will also require that you sign a contract in which you agree to: have the puppy fixed if you’re not going to breed it; notify the breeder if the dog develops any diseases or medical conditions; notify the breeder first if you are no longer able to care for your dog; and, do anything else the breeder feels is important for the health and well-being of the puppy and the breed. If your breeder doesn’t seem to care about the puppy’s future and only seems interested in payment, go to another breeder.

2. The breeder seems reluctant to answer questions about the puppy’s pedigree.

A reputable breeder knows all about the pedigrees of the puppies he or she sells. He or she knows who the parents were and can provide you with each puppy’s lineage, going back several generations. You will also want to register your purebred puppy with the American Kennel Club (AKC). The breeder is supposed to supply you with an AKC registration application with his or her portion already filled out. After you fill out and submit your part of the application, you’ll receive an AKC registration certificate. If the breeder you are dealing with cannot provide you with any documentation or registration papers for either the litter or the parents, be extremely wary.

3. The breeder does not seem too concerned with the health of his or her animals.

Any potential buyer of a purebred puppy should be able to see the facility in which the animal was bred. Do the puppies and other dogs there look healthy? If not, then the breeder may not be maintaining an appropriate standard of care. This could definitely affect the current and future health of the puppy in which you’re interested. The breeder should also have a record of the puppy’s health care, from birth to the present, and should be happy to provide you with copies. He or she should also guarantee that the puppy is free from any genetic disorders.

4. The breeder will not allow you to see the breeding facility.

Any reputable breeder will be happy to give you a tour of their facility. If the breeder you’ve chosen is not willing to let you see where your potential puppy comes from, the breeder may be running a puppy mill. Puppy mills are facilities that breed puppies only for profit, not for the benefit or love of the breed. Often, multiple dogs are crammed into one cage, the living conditions are filthy and the dogs there do not receive the proper nutrition or medical care. If the puppy you want comes from such a facility, it will most likely have serious medical and behavioral issues related to its stay there.

5. The breeder engages in questionable business practices.

If the asking price for your purebred puppy is significantly lower than other prices you’ve seen advertised for the same breed, there may be something wrong with the dog. Perhaps it comes from a puppy mill or has some serious medical issues. If the breeder also sells to pet stores, you can be pretty sure that he or she is operating a puppy mill. Reputable breeders usually concentrate on one or two breeds. If the breeder advertises that he or she has many different breeds for sale, then this is another indication that he or she may be breeding animals indiscriminately, without much concern for set breed standards.

5 Tips For Spotting A Disreputable Dog Breeder courtesy Dog Articles.

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