Spring is nearly here, which usually means we’d be writing to dog owners about seasonal hazards like thinning ice, ticks, heartworm, unintentional encounters between cooped-up dogs and more. However, as reputable breeding experts, the topic of unethical breeding – which has surged during the global COVID-19 pandemic – requires our attention.
The Harms of Unethical Breeding
The result of unethical breeding has been disheartening for the veterinary community. We are seeing more sick puppies with hereditary diseases such as malocclusions (bite issues), heart malformations and seizure disorders than ever before.
It has become especially difficult for veterinarians to treat this rise in health issues while clinics are already overwhelmed and facing many restrictions due to COVID-19. It can be truly heartbreaking for veterinarians to turn away pets who need care simply because of a lack of resources.
Here’s How You Can Help
If you’re getting a puppy, please make sure you’re ready and do your homework on the breeder you choose.
Consider pet insurance. If your puppy comes with a trial insurance program – extend it! Even if you do not choose to remain with the same company, get your puppy covered with insurance. It may save some heartache and hard decisions later.
Prepare and research how to introduce your new puppy into your home. We have had an astronomical increase in puppies and kittens being bitten by another pet in the house. Some of these injuries are devastating.
Be aware of what is in your puppy’s reach as foreign ingestion is also on the rise in veterinary clinics. As we spend more time at home, things can be left out accidently and your pup may consume items that can cause serious health issues.
Be cautious on walks and at parks. Dogs (and people) can become overly excited about puppies and get carried away. Sometimes canine body language isn’t as obvious as we think. If you’re an inexperienced owner, or around an inexperienced owner and their dog, please be especially careful at places like off-leash parks.
Practice patience with veterinarians and their staff as they do their best under difficult circumstances.
Reputable Breeder Checklist
If you’re currently searching for a breeder or know someone else who is, keep this checklist handy to help you recognize ethical breeding practices:
- Reputable breeders carefully plan and consider the mother (dam) and father (sire) for breeding
- They only have 1-2 litters per year
- They will provide all required vaccines for puppies (canine distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus and parainfluenza)
- Reputable breeders supply prospective owners with official medical records, pedigree details and health clearances
- They will care for their puppies until they are around eight weeks old before homing them with owners
- And more