Updated: Jun 30
In life, there are no guarantees. That turn of phrase has been quoted and misquoted for decades. But does it hold water?
There seems to be plenty of guarantees when we buy a washer/dryer, television, car, set of AirPods, cell phone… the list is endless. Some are worth something. Most aren’t worth the paper they were printed on. If anything was actually printed on paper any longer, that is.
How does this work with a living, breathing creature? What should you be looking for when you sign on the dotted line to bring home your puppy?
Let’s take a deeper look into the finer than fine print! We’ll hit a few do’s and don’t along the way, too.
What is a Puppy or Breeder Health Guarantee Exactly?
Let’s keep it simple. A health guarantee is a promise from the breeder that your puppy is free from any genetic defects or illness.
Anyone worth their salt will provide a buyer with this contract. It protects both the breeder and the buyer from any misunderstandings as it clearly outlines the finer points if something were to happen to your new puppy.
Interested in adding a new puppy to your family?
Depending on the breeder, what happens if something does develop with your puppy will vary from contract to contract. Some might comply and refund your purchase price. Others could replace your puppy. Some guarantees also include a replacement policy for puppies that have passed away from any cause.
Health guarantees vary from breeder to breeder, so be sure to read the fine print and understand what is covered before you complete your adoption.
What Does a Puppy / Breeder Health Guarantee Cover?
For argument's sake, let’s use our own thorough health guarantee for the framework of this discussion. (You can learn more about what other official paper's to expect after your puppy purchase here.)
There are two main sections to our contract. The first is Buyer’s Representations and Warranties while the second is Terms of Seller’s Health Guarantee. In this section, we’ll review the latter.
Terms of Seller’s Health Guarantee could easily be rephrased as “We’ve done our due diligence. This is what you should expect of the puppy we’ve provided for you.”
Nature will take its course regardless of whatever precautions anyone has taken. It’s why we and other breeders have certain guidelines to make sure you receive a perfectly healthy puppy ready to lead a long and happy life.
With our contract, we have what we call an Initial Health Guarantee. Cutting through the legalese, we have done everything in our power to deliver to our clients a dog free of any ailments and emotional issues.
We work with our puppies to make sure that they are as social and healthy as can be. It’s what makes our Exclusive Matchmaking System stand head and tail above the rest, no pun intended.
The entire JLDD team dedicates themselves to identifying and sharing any issue that might arise before we hand off a puppy into its new owner’s adoring arms.
Any legitimate breeder will work tirelessly to examine their puppies, work with anyone purchasing their pups and communicate clearly and concisely everything that has happened from birth to the day that their puppies end up on your doorstep.
What Does a Health Guarantee Require of You, the New Puppy Parent?
Teamwork makes the dream work. While the breeder is a very important part of the equation, the other half is you.
What could be asked of you? A few things, actually. Again, for argument's sake, we’ll use our guarantee as an outline. Buyer’s Representations and Warranties. What does this mean exactly? It’s a fancy way of saying, “This is what we expect of you.”
We have worked with our team of trained veterinarians and staff to identify any issues that have occurred while the pups are in our care. All responsible breeders should know what could happen with their puppies and speak intelligently on these topics.
It's important to get your puppy checked out by your own personally selected vet as soon as possible after you bring them home so any potential issues can be addressed and documented.
If there are any problems with your pup, you'll need to provide proof to the breeder in order to receive a refund or replacement puppy. Most, like us, will require at least a second opinion.
Another important thing to note is any spay or neuter requirements. Our team has decades of combined experience. We ensure the special care of each and every furry friend and make sure they are taken care of from birth. Your dog should be a companion and not used for breeding, hence this requirement.
We work to match our puppies with those who will align with them personality-wise and take the best possible care. While to many individuals, a daily dose of food and water is understood, others might need to be reminded in print.
These amazing dogs are our friends and every breeder should expect that kind of care for those who are undertaking lifelong responsibility for them. (We previously detailed what breeders expect from prospective puppy buyers here.)
These facts are just the tip of the iceberg regarding the health guarantee. Vaccinations, other additional health care and more may be brought up in your puppy's health guarantee.
Health topics that could be covered change from dog to dog and breed to breed. Make sure that whatever you agree to is not only best for your family… but also what's best for your new fury friend.
What is the Process for Using a Health Guarantee?
The truth of the matter is, no one wants to ever have to think about ACTUALLY using their health guarantee.
Everyone involved wants to be able to sign this document and never have to use it in practice. However, in the case that something does happen and your puppy becomes ill or is diagnosed with a hereditary condition, we want to make sure that you are taken care of.
Most guarantees include a provision that states the puppy must be returned to the breeder so that they can determine the cause of the illness and whether or not the warranty will still apply.
Most will offer options to trade one puppy for another or returning it for a full refund. Alternatively, the option may exist to simply accept that the dog isn’t as healthy as all would've hoped and continue to keep it in your home.
Let’s be honest. By this time, you probably have bonded with your puppy. These aren’t easy decisions to make. The sooner you identify any “problems'' your puppy might have, the sooner you can make the potentially difficult decision as to what your next steps might be.
We want you to be confident that your new family member is as healthy as possible and has a long life ahead of him or her. This is one of the best ways your breeder can ensure that.
How Long is a Puppy Health Guarantee Valid?
A health guarantee from a breeder is typically valid for a number of years. It's important to read the terms of the contact so you know what is and isn't covered.
For us here at JLDD, ours is valid for the first 24 months of your dog's life. Others aren’t valid for quite as long -- only six months to a year.
Tips for Finding a Reputable Breeder with a Puppy Health Guarantee
You've decided you're ready for a puppy and have done your research on the different breeds. You’ve done the easy part. Now what?
We will say, not all breeders are created equal. Don’t trust everything you read on the internet. Make sure that when you select the breeder from whom to adopt your dog, they’re not hiding anything in the fine print.
Read over anything and everything provided by your chosen breeder. Don’t hesitate to ask questions.
A good breeder will offer a guarantee that covers any genetic health issues the puppy may have. They should also be willing to provide you with a written contract that outlines the specifics of the health guarantee. You might even consider visiting the breeder's property to get a good feel for the conditions in which the puppies are being raised.
Once you feel like you've properly vetted the breeder and everything looks and sounds good, then you can rest assured knowing you have made an informed decision. Now's an ok time to go ahead and put down your deposit!
A health guarantee from a reputable breeder is an important part of protecting your new puppy. It ensures that you will be able to get a refund or replacement for your pup if he or she becomes ill within a certain time frame.
No one wants to have to consider these things; we know this is incredibly difficult emotionally for you, your family and your puppy. But, the sooner you do, you’re one step closer to expanding your family by one.
The more research and effort you put into finding your breeder, the happier you’ll be in the long run. Just ask your scrappy, young pup who will soon fill your life with cuddles and kisses!
Jenna and the JLDD Team