So you've decided to bring home a new puppy! Deciding to bring home a new member of the family is a big decision. Puppies do not stay puppies forever, so looking for a pup that is happy and healthy can be well worth it down the line. Depending on where you adopt your puppy, there can be a few different things to look for when searching for a healthy pup.
A puppy will grow from adorable “puppy stage” into the gangly “toddler stage” to older dog, and eventually a senior. When you factor in that large breed dogs are considered “senior” when they are five- to seven-years-old you can see how time flies when you’re living with, and loving, a dog.
Pet parents of puppies want to make certain the puppy they are adopting is healthy and won’t require out-of-the-ordinary veterinary care, that she will have a great quality of life and a long, happy life. To help assure yourself the puppy you’re adopting is as healthy as she can be, here are some steps to take. Remember, no one can guarantee the health of your puppy or the health of your dog for a lifetime, but you can start off on the right foot by adopting the healthiest puppy you can.
Ask for as much information on the puppy’s background as possible. If you’re getting a puppy from a breeder, he or she should know the puppy’s lineage and potential health issues – if any. If you’re adopting from a shelter, the shelter workers may have background information on the puppy and his or her parents, but they may not. Just because you don’t know the puppy’s background shouldn’t be a deterrent to adopting.
Remember, don’t overlook a shy puppy. This puppy may just be overwhelmed by the noise and scents of the shelter or rescue. Ask if you can take her to a quiet room or even outdoors and see if she loses her shyness and interacts more fully.
- Look for a puppy who appears physically healthy. A healthy puppy will be full of energy. They will have bright eyes. Their teeth will look healthy. Their tail will probably be wagging. As a generality, larger puppies/dogs may be more prone to hip issues as they age than a smaller breed puppy.
- Look for a puppy who appears mentally healthy. This means they are playful with his littermates or the other puppies with whom he’s interacting. They will want to play with you and maybe even have their belly rubbed. They will act alert and will play with a toy if offered.
- Ask about the puppy’s history. If the mother is on-site ask to see her; this may give you an idea as to how large the puppy will be when he’s fully grown.
- Consider the breed of the puppy. If you are an apartment dweller and you need a smallish full-grown dog, don’t adopt a puppy who appears as though he could grow to be as large as a Great Dane.
- Consider the activity level of the puppy. As a generality, some breeds are more active than others. A Jack Russell Terrier, for example, is likely going to be a lot more active than a Bloodhound or Basset-type breed. Know your own personal activity level and adopt accordingly. You also can’t fully gauge a puppy’s “full grown personality” based on a one-time meeting at a shelter. There is a lot to be said for the nurturing and training of your puppy once you bring her home as to how well she will meld with your family.
No matter where you adopt your family’s new puppy from, you’re making an investment in that puppy’s life and are offering him a forever home. He will grow up with your family and will quickly become a member of the family. Once you bring your new pet home, be sure to check out our basic puppy care tips, and consider investing in dog insurance!