Getting a new puppy for your family is an experience but it has its challenges. Have you been planning to bring a puppy home that you dreamt of for years or you have instantly fallen in love with a stray pup on the street?
As you look for a puppy to add to new member of your family, you also need to keep some general puppy health considerations in mind. This way, you can adopt a healthy and happy puppy for sharing moments to fall in love with each other that will be with your family for years.
After below, we suggest 8 ways to help you choose a healthy puppy:
- Get one at the right age.
In general, puppies should be kept with their mothers for at least the first 8 weeks of their lives. If the dog breed is small, such as a Yorkshire terrier, a puppy should live with its littermates or parents for the first 12 weeks so it can mature enough to live with other people and animals.
- If you find a breeder who is selling puppies younger than 8 weeks old, ask the breeder why, since it is too young.
2. Check the puppy’s cleanliness.
As you are looking for a puppy, you should look at how clean the puppy is. This is a good indicator of the puppy's health. When you meet a new puppy, look for clean:
- Ears. Dirty puppy ears may cause ear infections or indicate ear mites. Avoid puppies with ear redness or foul odors.
- Nose. There should be no discharge from the nose, and the puppy should not sneeze profusely or cough. Don’t think discharge is just saliva because the nose may be wet from licking.
- Eyes. There should be no discharge around the puppy’s eyes. They should be bright and alert.
3. Examine the coat. When you are getting a new puppy, its fur should be fresh and clean. It should also be shiny and full. Avoid dogs with bald patches or skin issues. It may be a bit dusty or slightly dirty if the puppy is playing outside with other animals, but it should clean up easily.
- When you play with the puppy, part its fur and look at the skin. It should also be clean and smooth. Make sure there are no fleas and that the puppy doesn’t scratch itself.
4. Check for a strong body. When you pick up the puppy, check the muscle definition of the legs and arms. All puppy bodies should be strong, even if the dog is a tiny breed. Make sure it isn’t thin with a protruding belly.
- This can be a sign of an untreated worm infestation or serious health issues, such as a heart problem.
5. Examine the stool. If you have a chance, examine what the puppy’s stool looks like. It should be firm. Loose stools or a messy bottom may indicate diarrhea, which is a sign of larger health issues. You should also check where the other puppies in the litter go to the bathroom to make sure none of the other puppies are sick either.
- Also watch to see if the puppy licks its genital region a lot. This may be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
6. Watch its energy level. In addition to the physical symptoms, you should evaluate the overall energy level of the puppy. Watch his interaction with other puppies and see how he interacts with you.
- It may take a little time for the puppy to warm up to you and your family, but it eventually will. Sit with it and make time to play with it when you visit. Healthy puppies are curious and want to play if they are awake.
7. Ask for past vet records. If possible, ask the shelter or breeder to see the past vet records for your puppy. This will ensure that it has been vaccinated and will let you know if the puppy has been fixed or not.
- If the breeder or seller won’t or can’t give you past vet records, seriously rethink getting that puppy. This is a warning sign that something could be wrong.
8. Ask about socialization. Your puppy's health includes his mental health, and that means it should be properly socialized. Ask about what contact the puppy has had with other people and where the puppies are kept (home environment rather than an outside run). A puppy that is poorly socialized may have major behavioral problems down the road.