Think M.E.G

Before Buying a Puppy!Think M.E.G

The biggest crisis affecting pet dogs today is poor breeding environments. Puppies need to be born and reared in a safe and environmentally enriched home to a happy, relaxed Mum.

Puppies born and reared in squalid ‘ Puppy farms’ are usually what comes to mind, but also as detrimental to a puppy’s behavioural and physical wellbeing are barren rearing environments such as sheds or outhouses. Potential puppy owners can also be misguided when dealing with licenced establishments. While providing food, water and shelter to a minimum standard, large scale puppy breeding establishments that are inspected and licenced by local council authorities often do not provide a sufficiently enriched environment required for rearing baby puppies. Although some can, it is up to you, the potential puppy owner, to establish if this has been achieved. The sole purpose of many such facilities is to mass-produce puppies to sell them for profit.

In two recent large-scale studies of dogs from high-volume commercial breeding establishments (one study focusing on the adult breeding dogs and the other on the puppies sold through pet stores), the evidence showed conclusively that these breeding facilities can be highly injurious to both groups of dogs, resulting in severe, extensive and long-term harm to the behavioural and psychological well-being of the dogs. Puppies kept in any of these environments will often be unhealthy, timid, fearful and displaying other numerous behavioural issues (McMillian et al, 2013 and McMillian et al, 2011).

How friendly and outgoing a puppy will be is determined by its parent’s nature, its mother’s environment before, during and after pregnancy, and by experiences a puppy has from birth to 12 weeks. This means that the provision of good maternal care and much of the critical socialisation time that puppies require is the responsibility of the breeder! (Please see Science behind M.E.G).
If dogs are to be bred to produce puppies for sale, then surely all of these dogs and puppies should be assured a decent quality of life based on the most current scientific research. This is more likely to be achieved by obtaining puppies from small, non-commercial breeders that have their health and behavioural welfare as a priority.

crowdQ: What then can potential puppy owners do to influence better breeding practices?

A: By only buying or obtaining a puppy that you know has had the upbringing that is optimum for their future mental and physical development. It really is a case of supply and demand! If we the public continue to buy or obtain puppies from unknown or environmentally deprived establishments then unscrupulous breeders will continue to supply them. We the consumers can improve breeding practices by only buying or obtaining puppies from breeders that have their health and behavioural welfare as a priority.

Be suspicious if:
⦁ Mum isn’t there (she’s most likely miles away on a cruel puppy farm)
⦁ You’re told mum’s at the vet, been run over, sick, basically anywhere else
⦁ Price is either very cheap (£100-£350) or very expensive (£2000-£7000)
⦁ Pup is being sold in a pet shop or garden centre
⦁ Pup is sold from website, Free Ad, motorway service station, pub
⦁ You’re offered free delivery

BEFORE BUYING PUPPY! – THINK M.E.G Can the breeder allow you to interact with a friendly MUM? Can the breeder show you a clean, loving, secure and non-traumatic ENVIRONMENT? Can the breeder provide GENETIC information on the behaviour of both parents as well as physical health certifications? Ask yourself is this a Good Breeder?

Please Think M.E.G


FD McMillan, JA Serpell, DL Duffy, E Masaoud, IR Dohoo. Journal of the American
Veterinary Medical Association 2013; 242: 1359-1363).

FD McMillan, DL Duffy, JA Serpell. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 2011; 135: 86-94.

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