If you've decided to take the plunge and add a puppy to your family, you have an adventure ahead of you. However, in order to have a happy and healthy dog who you can love and raise well, you need to start out on the right foot. Some puppies are not bred or raised well, and if they are exposed to illness and injury, you could end up paying thousands in medical bills to keep your dog healthy.
Here are some tips for finding a puppy that will have a good healthy life with you.
1. Look at the parents.
When choosing a puppy, steer clear of pet stores and instead go to renowned breeders. Parents should be kept on site so you can see how the health and disposition of the mother and father. If the parents' coats are shiny and healthy, if their teeth look nicely cared for, and if they are at a healthy weight, these are indicators that the breeders are responsible dog owners who care for their animals.
2. Check for basic signs of good health.
Some puppies, even when born to good parents, are simply more weak and prone to illness. You won't always be able to tell this, but you can check for basic signs of health, including:
- solid, sturdy body. You don't want a puppy to feel frail or breakable. Small dog breeds may have tiny puppies, but their bodies should still give off a feeling of vitality instead of frailty.
- high energy. Dog's personalities vary, but a healthy puppy will have the energy to run and play with his or her litter mates.
- a coat free of missing patches, spots, or dull colored fur. Just like a healthy adult, a puppy's coat should be clean and free of sores. Patchy, dull fur indicates poor health.
- clear eyes and ears. Sick puppies will have more discharge. Some dogs will have hardened crusty bits around the eyes, nose, and ears if they are unwell.
3. Ask for a history of good care.
Responsible puppy breeders will not spare any expense for proper puppy care in the first few years of life. You should ask about:
- vaccinations. Puppies may have received one or two rounds of shots from a veterinarian before being picked up. No shots is a red flag.
- wormings. All puppies need treatment for worms.
- food quality. High quality food translates to better health. Firm, dark stools indicate a healthy digestive system.