In the U.S., 66% of households own pets, with the dog as the undisputed favorite across age groups. While most pet owners acquire pets from stores, reputable breeders, or rescues, there is a growing trend to purchase fur babies online.
Though this type of transaction may initially be an acquired taste for those used to onsite purchases, the rise of online marketplaces and breeders, and curtailed mobility during the pandemic, encouraged buyers to turn to the internet to find their furry companions.
Admittedly, the digital puppy purchase process can be confusing and overwhelming, especially for first-time buyers. For instance, the biggest fear to hurdle is whether you are getting what you paid for. With the ease of digitally altering photos for the website, the puppy delivered to your doorstep may not look like the site photos you based your decision on. With that said, if you want to buy puppies online, make sure you are dealing with a verified merchant with clients who can vouch for the health and quality of the puppies.
In this article, we will decode the digital puppy purchase process and provide insights from various perspectives to help you make an informed decision.
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The Pros And Cons Of Online Puppy Purchases
Online puppy purchases offer several advantages, including convenience, a wider selection of breeds, and the ability to compare prices and reviews. Because you have numerous choices and testimonials to base your choice on, the tendency to purchase impulsively at the sight of that irresistible cute face is minimized.
However, there are also potential risks and downsides to consider. For instance, the lack of face-to-face interaction with breeders can make assessing the puppy’s health and temperament difficult.
Dogs, in general, are good for mental health, and some fur parents swear by the therapeutic benefits of having their pooch around. However, your intended puppy may have acquired habits you don’t like and unless you make the effort to arrange for longer videos or an onsite visit, you are left clueless.
Additionally, some online breeders may be operating illegally or engaging in unethical practices, such as inbreeding or neglecting the puppies’ welfare.
Steps To Digitally Purchase Your Puppy
There are ways to make online purchases as gratifying and safe as choosing a puppy in person at a kennel. The following are best practices that will save you grief:
- Research breeders, online shops, or rescue clubs within driving distance if you want to find a breeder that’s close enough to make a personal visit. If you prefer, online shops can offer the convenience of scheduling an onsite visit.
- If you are looking for a particular pedigree or wish to purchase potential stock for a breeding program, check for any awards the kennel has received, the pedigree of the sire and dam, and the photos of the litter.
- Check the litter ticket and registry. Also, ask if the microchip has been embedded – this ensures that the puppy you picked is the one going home with you. Some unscrupulous breeders may practice sleight of hand and switch similar-looking puppies.
- Ask for health and vaccination records. Check if the puppy has updated deworming and vaccine schedules.
- You may not always get an honest answer but ask anyway. Check for a history of parvo or distemper because these viruses survive long, and you may be unwittingly introducing these pathogens to your household.
- Arrange to visit the puppy in person or request a video call to assess its behavior and living conditions. Videos may show the puppy at its best and rarely at its worst, so ask for a video call to see the puppy interacting with humans and other dogs.
In addition, the video will show you if the puppy is attentive, playful, has a nice gait, etc. It can also bring out faults that may not be readily seen in photos, like an underbite, east-west feet, or snapping for no reason.
If you are convinced this is the ‘one’, arrange to pay for the puppy. If the puppy is too young, a deposit can be accepted.
- Ask for a puppy health guarantee if the puppy has serious congenital or genetic conditions. The caveat is that not all breeders will agree to this ‘contract’.
- Decide whether to bring your puppy home or have it delivered by the company’s pet delivery services.
- Be wary of any red flags, such as unusually low prices or pressure to make a quick purchase.
Purchasing a puppy online can be a great option for those unable to visit onsite stores, breeders, or rescues. While risks are involved, such as unethical practices and difficulty assessing the puppy’s health and temperament, there are also advantages, such as convenience and a wider selection of breeds.
It’s important to research breeders or online shops, ask for health and vaccination records, and arrange to visit the puppy in person or via video call.
With the right knowledge and precautions, purchasing a puppy online can be a convenient and rewarding experience. You can find your perfect furry companion online by taking the necessary steps and ensuring a safe and ethical purchase.
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