• Linda Healy

Getting a puppy-checklist

1) If possible inspect the puppy's mother and father. Are they free of physical and/or mental shortcomings that might be passed to their offspring? (remember a puppy will look and behave like its parents)

2) Is the puppy at least 8 weeks old? (Puppies younger than 8 weeks should not be separated from their mother and siblings.)

3) Does the puppy seem alert, happy, and eager to socialize with you? (A shy, withdrawn puppy may grow up to be a shy, withdrawn dog.)

4) Does the puppy seem gentle and amiable? (Be extremely wary of a dog that shows undue aggressive tendencies-growling, determined biting-at such an early age. This can indicate a significant problem with the dogs temperament.

5) Has the puppy received all vaccinations and/or medical care appropriate for its age?

6) Is the puppy's stool firm? (A stool exam for intestinal parasites should be done by 8 weeks of age. A thin puppy may be malnourished or have worms.

7) Are its eyes clear and free of discharge?

8) Are the ears and nose free of discharge?

9) Is the coat clean and shiny?

10) Is its breathing regular, with no coughing and/or wheezing?

11) Is its body physically sound, with no lameness or tenderness anywhere?

It is important to make sure the puppy is screened the specific genetic disorders (hip dysplasia, heart disease, blindness, etc) common to its breed. Finally, no matter what sort of puppy you plan to get, you should make the sale contingent on an examination and approval by your vet. Detecting a heart murmur, orthopedic problem, or some other major malfunction at this early stage allows you to return the puppy before becoming emotionally attached.

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