If you’re looking to bring home a puppy or kitten from a dog breeder or cat breeder, you’ll want to do your research to be sure you adopt from a reputable breeder. We asked the cat and dog breeders in our Breeder Support Program what questions pet owners should ask before buying a puppy or kitten.
1. Why shouldn’t I own this breed?
Everyone knows why they want to own a particular breed. A great breeder will tell you the other side of the breed and identify some of their faults. They want to make sure you are a great fit for their litters just as much as you want to offer a great home to your new family member. A responsible breeder will not hesitate to discuss the challenges of the breed.
2. What is included in the price of this puppy or kitten?
Is the puppy or kitten up-to-date on vaccines? Do they offer a health guarantee? What comes in their puppy or kitten pack? Although it may look great at first, a low price often means that you will spend more later on to take care of these basic needs.
3. Do you have a contract?
Responsible breeders will often ask potential buyers to sign a contract to make sure their litters are going to a great home. They may require that you spay or neuter your puppy or kitten, or ask that you insure your new pet to get them off to a great start in their new home.
Contracts are often for the benefit of everyone involved. Make sure you read the contract and are comfortable with everything listed. This will also give you more insight into the breeder’s philosophy.
4. Have you ever had an on-site inspection by a licensed veterinarian?
It may seem simple, and many breeders have not been inspected, but this shows another level of dedication to be a responsible breeder. It may offend some, but it is a conversation worth starting.
You shouldn’t turn away simply because they haven’t had an on-site inspection, but if they have it just shows another level of commitment to the breed and their litters.
5. Have you health tested the parents and grandparents? Can I see documentation?
A responsible breeder will pay close attention to the health of the parents to give their offspring the best chance at a great life. Many breeds have congenital and hereditary conditions associated with them, and your breeder should be well aware of this. Be sure to ask for proof of health testing. Knowing that the veterinarian said the dog or cat was healthy enough to breed are not the same as health testing the parents and grandparents.
Depending on the breed of your potential new puppy or kitten, look for health certificates from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC), Paw Print Genetics, and Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF).
6. Do you have any questions for me?
A responsible breeder wants to make sure their litter is going to a great home and will typically have questions for you before you can take a puppy or kitten home. Don’t be surprised if you have to fill out a lengthy application to be considered for a puppy or kitten. Not only will it help them determine that your family is a great fit, it will give you the opportunity to make sure you’ve thought through everything before bringing your new family member home.