Questions to ask when buying a puppy

01 Jun 2023

We believe that rescue is best when it comes to bringing a new dog into your life, but if you are set on buying one we have compiled a list of important questions for you to ask first.

Black puppy looks at camera lying in cosy dog bed

Getting a puppy can be incredibly rewarding; not only do they grow to become our best friends and family members, but they also provide us with unconditional love and affection. However, it’s important to remember that buying a puppy is the first step in taking a big commitment that will require a lot of time and resources.

While it may feel quick and easy, we would never recommend buying a puppy online. Pictures can be misleading, and it’s impossible to tell if they’ve come from a reputable source.

On 6 April 2020, Lucy’s Law was introduced which bans the sale of puppies or kittens in England from third parties or ‘middle men’, meaning that anyone looking to get a new animal should have to go directly to a breeder or a rescue or rehoming centre.

At Battersea, we believe that rescue is best when it comes to welcoming a new dog into your life. At a rescue centre you know you are getting a dog that has been selected because it will match your lifestyle, and is healthy and ready for family life. However, if you are set on buying one from a breeder, it’s important that you do your research and find a reputable breeder where the dogs and puppies are well cared for. Further advice on this can be found at The Puppy Contract or Get Your Pet Safely.

Things to consider before getting a puppy:

Is a puppy the right pet for me?

Puppies are undoubtedly small and cute, but they also have a lot of energy so will need to start learning some basic training from the very start to make sure they become well-rounded adult dogs. Before committing to buying a puppy, it’s important to make sure that you have the time and resources to dedicate to both training and looking after them. This is rewarding but is also hard work and shouldn’t be underestimated.

It’s also important to make sure that you have the time and resources to dedicate to your puppy as it grows. If you are anticipating any significant life changes, for example spending less time at home or going into a work environment that would involve leaving them alone for long periods of time, then we would encourage you to think carefully before buying or rescuing a puppy.

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Do I have enough space for a puppy?

While puppies start off very small, it won’t be long before they’ve grown into an adult dog. Some dogs won’t grow to be very big, but others may need extra space to live comfortably or burn off excess energy. Consider how much space you have available at home, and in any gardens or local outside areas, and the kind of dog your puppy will turn into before committing to getting a new dog. Rescue centres like Battersea will help match you with a dog that suits your circumstances, but you can research different breeds through The Kennel Club.

When was the puppy born?

Unless they’ve been hand-reared, a puppy shouldn’t leave its mother until it is at least eight weeks old. However, some breeders do not adhere to this timeframe, so it’s very important that you stay aware of this and check their age as best you can. Breeders are expected to show you the puppy interacting with its mother, so if it is safe to do so visit the puppy and its mother as much as you can before committing to purchasing.

Puppies develop and change in appearance week on week, so a good way to check how old they are is by comparing them to photographs of others that are the same age.

Am I able to train and socialise my puppy?

Naughty puppies are easy to handle when they’re small, but you will need to lay the foundations for them to grow up to be the best dog they can be. Training your puppy is a very rewarding experience and will also help them to grow into a well-behaved pet when they’re older.

Battersea run online training classes for puppies and adolescent dogs to help you and your dog enjoy your first steps in training together. Our courses are run by experienced Battersea Canine Behaviour and Training Advisors who will work with you and your dog via an interactive online class. You’ll be shown Battersea-recommended techniques and behaviours, which you’ll then get the chance to try yourself while your trainer watches on and advises.