Choosing a healthy puppy takes a lot of patience and plentiful research. If you’re currently looking for a puppy to buy of adopt then you want to be certain that you’re choosing the right dog breed for you and your family and that you’re working with a responsible breeder. With hundreds of dog breeds to choose from you will want to ensure that the dog breed you have in mind will fit seamlessly into your family life. Of course, there will be an adjustment period for the both of you, but you must be a 100% certain that you’re ready for such a commitment.
To help you along with your research process we have listed below some important points to consider before you commit.
First of all you will want to research the various breeds you think are suitable for your lifestyle. Are you looking for a certain size of breed? Do you have enough room in your house or apartment? Do you have suitable outdoor space? Are there allergy concerns within your family? Asking yourself all these important questions will help you make an informed decision on what dog breed is most suitable.
Conduct a pre-veterinary examination before you commit
As you’re well aware buying a puppy is a huge commitment on your time and purse strings. Before buying your puppy, it's worth considering having your own vet to examine the puppy in question. This would have to be done at the convenience of the breeder and the cost will be your expense. No reputable breeder should refuse this but if they do, or are adamant using a vet of their own, then this could potentially be a warning and you should be cautious and move on to another breeder
Are they in good health?
A healthy puppy should be spritely, playful and look well. A good indication of an unwell puppy would be the condition of their eyes. Are their eyes bright and glowing? or are they sticky and full of discharge? The litter dwelling should be clean and free of fecess and unrine. The same goes for the puppy. Are they clean? Are they going to the toilet ok? If their suffering with dorrihea then this could also indicate that they may have ill health.
If the puppy appears to have a runny nose, sticky eyes then you must air on the side of caution. It's most likely a simple infection and it's worth keeping in touch with the breeder to check the health of the puppy and maybe have them checked over by a veterinary professional before you adopt or buy a puppy.
Their environment should be kept clean, appropriate for all of their requirements and comfortable. A breeder should want to keep their bitch and litter in the perfect setting (perfect as can be) if not, then this is a warning sign that they're most likely not fussy on other important issues either. You must be vigilant and go with your gut instincts. You can also find specific dog breed temperament information by visiting our dog breeds section.
A puppy should generally be chubby - hence the expression "puppy fat”. If they look underweight and malnourished you have every right to question this. if it seems that they’re suffering with a form of neglect, again, this is when they should be reported immediately. Do to be tempted to take the puppies home and instead report them ad follow up that action has been taken.
If the puppy seems to have an extremely nervous temperament or is demonstrating unusual behaviour, then this should be a warning sign that something isn't right and should be avoided.
Understand the breed specific health issues
One of the most important points to consider once you've chosen your desired breed, or type of dog, is to know if they are prone to any specific health related issues. You must read up on any known health related issues for the breed or type of dog you've decided upon, so that you can make an informed decision as to whether that particular breed is still the right choice. It's worth ringing around various pet insurance companies to enquire if you can get your new puppy insured without there being any problems and researching if the premium is higher for this particular breed in comparison to other breeds.
During you visit you should be checking that the puppies can hear and see well. To check the puppies hearing it can be simply done by speaking, clapping or simple household noises. To have a better understand of their capabilities to hear and see well, you should try to take the puppy away from their litter to test their hearing as they will have less distraction from their littermates. A puppy with poor hearing may try to mimic their littermates behaviour and this will be hard to determine when they're surrounded by the rest of the litter.
To check if the puppy's eyesight is normal, watch out for how they react to light and movement and how they then move. Puppies are like babies and they are extremely playful and will often fall over. You should watch out for how they navigate around household objects and their environment. If they navigate absolutely fine, then this is sure sign that their vision is good.
The next point to cover during your visit is to observe the puppies temperament and see how they Interact with their litter and with their parents, if possible. If the mother isn't available to see, then ask why, as this could be a sign that something isn't right. You should check that the parents are happy around their litter, showing signs of happiness and willing to play. The parents should also be watchful and alert. All the puppies should be happy and wanting to play with each other.
The importance of worming and flea vaccinations
All puppies should receive 2 vaccinations, the first between 8-10 weeks of age and the 2nd vaccination 2 weeks later around the age of 10-12 weeks. It is important that you check with the seller what vaccinations the puppy or dog has had. It's worth noting that puppies should have had their first vaccination before they leave their mother. You can also check the legitimacy of their vaccination paperwork with the vet in question.
Lead with your head and not your heart
On your search for your beloved puppy, you may come across an unwell puppy and this can be very hard to walk away. Not all puppies are perfect and can be sick sometime and this will be your responsibility as an owner to nurse them back to good health. If you come across a puppy that seems unwell or has a health issue then this is the responsibility of the breeder to look after them till their well again or for the duration of their life in some instances. If you have suspicions that the breeder does not have the puppies best interests at heart, or they seem neglected in any way, then you must report them by contacting the RSPCA. We understand that it is very hard to walk away and not rescue the pup, but to stop this on-going trade of breeding dogs in an unsafe environment, or puppy farming, you must report them immediately. The way to help put a stop to wrongful breeding is for responsible, caring dog lovers to unite and speak out about suspicious breeding practices.