What you need to know... when buying a puppy
• Know ahead of time what size, temperament and breed of dog suits you and your home environment. You can partially project the amount of care, attention and exercise a dog will need based on its breed.
• Whether you choose to adopt from a humane society or buy from a breeder or a pet store, make sure the facility is reputable, clean and open. Are references available upon request? Is food and water available to the dogs in the facility? Are you allowed to tour the site where the dogs are housed?
• Avoid buying a dog on impulse. Get copies of health, vaccination and veterinarian records; everything related to the dog's health, genetic and behavioral history.
• Closely inspect and observe your puppy's disposition and health. Active and friendly puppies are ideal, while overly shy, lethargic and fearful ones are to be avoided.
• In addition to asking questions about your prospective new pet, are you asked questions in return? Good establishments want to match a puppy with a compatible home.
• Are you offered a written guarantee should your pet have problems? The guarantee should detail a return policy or a time frame during which compensation is provided should any health or behavioral issues arise. Also, find out what is expected from you, i.e. time frames for follow-up veterinary exams.
• When you finally decide on your pup, ensure your sales receipt includes the price, date of purchase, dog's description and the names of the buyer(s) and seller(s). If you're buying a purebred dog, you should also receive confirmation of the dog's purebred status and a certificate of registration validating the dog's parents' purebred heredity.