Getting a puppy is a big decision because it will become a new member of your family. You will be responsible for feeding, training, and sheltering your puppy, among other things.
Naturally, you will want the puppy to be perfectly healthy and satisfy all your preferences and requirements.
If you do not know much about the history of the puppy, then you might be unpleasantly surprised if they end up sick or worse.
Take it upon yourself to learn everything you need to know about choosing a puppy beforehand. That way, you will be prepared to ask the right questions and follow the necessary steps to ensure a positive outcome.
Below are eight ways to ensure the puppy you buy is healthy and right for you.
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1) Buy from a Breeder
The average person will visit a pet store or animal shelter to find their next puppy. However, there is more risk involved when you choose a puppy this way because you only get to see your choices through a small glass cage.
Each puppy is usually segregated in separate cages. That means you cannot observe their social interactions with other puppies.
But if you visit a breeder, you will get to witness firsthand how the puppy relates to his or her littermates.
It gives you the chance to see their behaviour and determine if they will fit well in your household.
2) Learn About Dog Food
Do not assume that all dog breeds eat the same kind of dog food. Since you are probably not an expert in dogs and what they eat, you should consult with the breeder about the right food to feed your dog.
It will be a much smoother transition to move a new puppy into your home if you feed them the same foods they were fed before.
The breeder might even give you some of the dog food that they provided to the puppy. That will make it even easier to help the dog transition comfortably.
3) Buy a 7-Week-Old Puppy
The best time to purchase a new puppy is when they are between 7 weeks and 12 weeks old. Puppies need to spend time with their siblings and mother during the first seven weeks of their life.
It will give the breeder a chance to evaluate the puppy and ensure they are healthy and sane. Stay in contact with the breeder throughout the entire seven weeks of the puppy’s life.
The breeder will keep track of the puppy’s development and inform you of the status. They will not want you to see the puppy until the 7-week mark anyway.
4) Avoid Puppies From the First Litter
The health of the mother will usually determine the health of her puppies. If you buy a puppy from her first litter, then you will not know whether her puppies are mentally and physically healthy.
For this reason, try to buy a puppy from the second or third litter of the mother. It is the only way to know if she can give birth to healthy puppies or not.
5) Choose a Reputable Breeder
Do not just choose any breeder that you see advertised in the classified ads section of Craigslist or your local newspaper.
Search around the Internet for reputable breeders who have positive feedback posted about them by other pet owners.
When you meet with a potential breeder, ask them questions about their experience. If you can make an appointment to visit their facility and observe their litter of puppies, then it is even better. You can see how sanitary they keep their facility and how well they treat the puppies.
6) Consider the Size and Breed
The breed of a dog will determine their size and personality. For instance, a Pitbull is bigger and more aggressive than a poodle.
So, you need to think about what kind of dog you want and why you want them. Will the dog eventually be used for home protection?
Do you prefer dogs that stay small and cuddly? These are questions you should answer before choosing a puppy.
7) Look for Unhealthy Signs
When you visually evaluate the physical health of a potential puppy, you will want to look for a puppy with shiny fur, white teeth, and pink gums.
These are signs of the dog being physically healthy. If you do not see any fleas on them, it is even better.
If the puppy has rough-looking fur or discolouration of their teeth or gums, then it is a sign they are diseased and unhealthy. Avoid any puppy with these symptoms.
When you go to hold a potential puppy for the first time, do they lick your face or hands? If so, it is a clear sign they are a friendly and lovable puppy.
An aggressive or traumatized puppy would react in a much different way. Choose a puppy that is lovable because training them will be much easier.
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