Is that online puppy bringing rabies with him? - Dr. Marty Becker

Is that online puppy bringing rabies with him?

Wednesday, Jun 11th, 2014 | By Dr. Marty Becker

Beagle PuppyCan you imagine bringing a darling little puppy into your family, and learning he not only has a deadly disease that will take his life, but has put your family’s life in danger, too?

That’s exactly the scenario the Centers for Disease Control are warning puppy buyers to avoid, as puppies imported with fake health records are being sold as U.S. born-and-bred to unsuspecting buyers.

The CDC warns these puppies, who originate from countries were rabies is endemic, are being sold online, in pet stores, and by individuals.

These puppies, who can be as young as 4 weeks, often come with registration and health records that are fraudulent. So, since “papers” aren’t going to protect you from this heartbreak and health risk, what will?

Friends, in my view there are only two good places to get a companion dog or puppy: From a good, small, home-based breeder who gives her dogs the same care you’ll be giving your puppy, or from a well-run shelter or rescue group that uses up-to-date sheltering and veterinary practices.

It’s perfectly fine to locate a pet from online sources, like Petfinder.com, The Shelter Pet Project, or national breed clubs. However, you should then be able to meet the puppy in person, speak to someone very familiar with the puppy and his behavior and health, and see medical records from a local veterinarian. If the puppy is coming from a breeder, you should also be able to meet the mother on the breeder’s premises.

Our friends at Embrace Pet Insurance have an excellent overview of the health problems in nearly all dog breeds, which includes good advice on how to get a healthy dog and find a good breeder. You can find it here.