Regardless of the breed and gender, the most vital thing to choose is a healthy puppy. The future welfare and health of your pet greatly depend on where you get your puppy from. Unfortunately, some dogs are born with inherited health conditions that may cause future heartaches. As such, it is best to ask important questions to the breeder that would prepare you for the commitment it requires.
How can you tell if a puppy is healthy? Look for these signs in picking a happy and healthy puppy.
A strong body build
A healthy pup displays a strong, sturdy, and compact body. It is apparent that small breeds may look daintier, but look at the proportion of the body. The body should be well-balanced from his chest to hind legs and not too thin or too fat. The muscles should be well-defined on his arms and legs.
- Watch out for a protruding belly as it could be a sign that the pup has dog worms.
- Watch out for any signs of injuries such as limping.
Clean and shiny coat
Examine the puppy’s coat. It should be clean and appear shiny and smooth. His fur should not have any of these unhealthy puppy signs:
- Thinning or bald patches
- Dry flakes
- Scaly patches
- External parasites such as fleas or ticks
- Pup is noticeably scratching his body
Vibrant eyes and clean nose and ears
Take a careful look at his appearance particularly with his eyes, nose, and ears. There should be no signs of discharge, inflammation, or tear stains. A healthy pup should have:
- Alert and bright eyes
- Clean ears
- A little moist in the nose, but not runny (The puppy’s nose can be a bit wet from licking.)
In many instances, white-coated dogs with one or both blue eyes may be deaf in one or both ears. Check if your candidate is deaf by testing the puppy’s hearing. To do this, separate the puppy from his littermates as he may follow or mimic the other puppies’ movements. It will also lessen the stimuli that might divert his attention. Then use your voice, clap, or drop something to create a noise, and observe if he reacts to the sound.
Ensure that your puppy has a good vision as well. To check his eyesight, observe his reactions and movements around his surroundings. Naturally, puppies move and play adorably, but they should be able to confidently know how to handle any obstacles.
First, examine the puppy’s rear end. It should have no presence of any debris or faecal particles. A healthy puppy will release firm and regular stools. Find a chance to observe the puppy’s stool. Loose stools may be a sign of diarrhoea, which is another health issue.
Further, make sure that the puppy does not lick his genital area more often. This can be a sign of another health complication, such as urinary tract infection.
Confidence and energy level
Spend enough time to gain a complete observation amongst puppies in a litter. Watch all puppies’ interaction with each other. By doing so, you may evaluate the general energy level of each pup. Observe his interaction on his littermates and to you as well. It may take time for him to soften around you and your family, but he eventually will. Find time to sit and play with him upon visiting. Healthy puppies are inquisitive enough to enjoy a good time of playing.
Temperament or behaviour
The puppy’s mental health should also be one of the considerations. Pick one that is already properly socialised. You may ask the breeder on the puppy’s home environment and how the puppy was reared. Without the foundation of proper socialisation, he is likely to develop major behavioural problems such as dog aggression.
Can a puppy leave at seven weeks? From an article on Psychology Today, socialisation period of dogs with other dogs should run from three to six weeks, whilst socialisation with people should be from six to fourteen weeks. Ideally, the puppy can be taken from his litter when he is seven weeks of age or so.
Pick an ideal puppy that is neither lethargic nor shy—the one that will greet you with his head held high with a wagging tail. These are good signs in social aspect. Be careful not to choose the fearfully anxious pup unless you are an expert in training a fearful dog to become a confident little one.
How can I make my puppy healthy?
Upon choosing a healthy puppy, this introduces you to a new responsibility, which is keeping your puppy healthy. These are tips that will lessen the risks to your puppy’s health:
- Set regular check-ups and preventive healthcare with a veterinarian. This includes necessary vaccinations for puppies.
- Ask advice from your vet on your puppy’s diet.
- Get all necessary tags and licences in keeping your pup safe.
- Consider sending your puppy to professional training classes that use positive reinforcement method.
- Ensure that fresh water is accessible at all times.