Red Flags to Watch Out for When Talking to a Breeder

When looking for a new dog or cat, it’s important to research the best dog breeders or cat breeders to ensure you’re getting the best pet for your family. Understanding the basics of pet care, including aspects such as early scent introduction, is the cornerstone of being an ethical breeder. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous breeders out there who put profit over the welfare of their animals. We understand that many people searching for a family pet have a deep love and care for animals, and will treat them the same as any other member of the family.

human and group of dogs

Responsible Pet Breeders Australia (RPBA) has always made it a priority to educate the public about ethical and responsible pet breeding. To make sure you’re dealing with an ethical and responsible breeder, it’s important to know what red flags to look out for when talking to them.

Unwillingness to Provide References

Reputable breeders should have no problem providing references from previous customers, veterinarians and trainers. If a breeder is unwilling or unable to provide references, this could be a sign that they may not be as reputable as they claim.

Lack of Knowledge

A good breeder should have an in-depth knowledge about their particular breed and its health issues, behavioural characteristics and general care needs. They should also be able to answer any questions you may have about the breed or pet in question. 

Breeders you speak to must be able to care for their breeding animals throughout cat or dog gestation period, as this care is critical for the health of the kittens and puppies. Ask about what steps they take for the welfare of their breeding cats and dogs. 

If they seem unsure or unwilling to answer your questions, this could be a sign that they are not knowledgeable enough about their animals and may not be providing adequate care for them. 

Unsanitary Conditions

A reputable breeder will keep their kennels clean and well-maintained at all times. If the conditions appear unclean or cramped, this is likely an indication that the animals are not being cared for properly and could lead to health issues down the road for your pet. 

No Health Clearances

A responsible breeder will ensure all puppies/kittens have been screened by a veterinarian prior to adoption and will provide proof of these screenings upon request. This includes documentation of vaccinations, deworming treatments, blood tests (for genetic diseases), physical exams and so on. 

If the breeder you are speaking to cannot provide these documents, or if any of these tests were skipped/delayed, then this could be an indication that they do not prioritise animal welfare over profit margins as much as they should. 

Puppy Mills

Puppy mills are large-scale commercial operations where dogs are bred solely for profit without regard for animal welfare standards or regulations set by national organisations such as RPBA. 

These operations often produce sickly puppies with numerous medical issues due to improper breeding practices and overcrowded living conditions. Be sure to research any potential breeders before making a commitment. Puppy mill puppies can end up costing more in vet bills than originally anticipated due to medical problems caused by irresponsible breeding practices at these facilities. The less these unscrupulous breeders are rewarded for their efforts, the less likely it is that they will continue to operate. 

Unrealistic Prices

While prices vary depending on location and quality of animal being purchased, if a price seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Responsible breeders put time and energy into caring for their animals so prices should reflect that effort. 

If you come across someone offering suspiciously low prices, then chances are they aren’t following through on proper care regimes or paying attention to other necessary factors such as genetic testing/screening. This can lead to health issues with your pet down the line. Be wary of any offers that seem too good – always ask questions before making any commitments!

By being aware of these red flags when speaking with potential breeders you can help protect both yourself and your beloved four-legged friends from unethical breeding practices. 

At RPBA, our members must have a solid understanding of best practices, our breeding code of ethics and how to care and bring up their animals. In addition, members must provide pictures of their premises to prove that they have clean, safe and comfortable accommodations for their breeding animals, and that they are not a puppy farm. The RPBA admin team reviews all these photos to ensure that our members are being held to the highest standards for the care and raising of their animals.