Puppies are the cutest thing. With their sweet little eyes, soft coats and adorable puppy smell, it is hard not to fall in love with the first puppy you see. Buying a puppy is not without its risks, however, and it is important to make sure you buy a happy, healthy puppy or you will end up dealing with a whole boat load of trouble further down the line. So how can you ensure your new best friend is the right puppy for you?
Buy from a Reputable Breeder
Choosing a reputable breeder will go a long way towards preventing any major problems. Reputable breeders only breed from healthy animals. They raise their puppies in a family environment so that the puppies are healthy and well socialised before they go to their new homes. If you want to buy a pedigree puppy, contact the American Kennel Club (AKC) for a list of registered breeders in your area.
How to Spot the Signs of a Sick Puppy
In most cases it will not be too difficult to spot if a puppy you are interested in buying is sick, but if this is your first puppy, here are a few important signs to look out for:
Runny nose and eyes – A puppy with a respiratory illness will almost certainly have a runny nose and weeping eyes. He will be sneezing and appear to have a cold. This is not a good sign as respiratory symptoms are signs of a potentially more serious health problem.
Listlessness – A sick puppy will be quiet and listless. He won’t want to play with you or his siblings. He won’t want to do anything at all apart from lie down and be miserable.
Underweight – Sick puppies are often underweight and malnourished. Healthy puppies, by comparison, are fat and cuddly.
How to Spot Behavioral Problems
People who breed puppies purely for financial gain are not interested in the health and welfare of their animals. Bitches are kept in outdoor pens, often with little heat or comforts. The puppies don’t have any human contact apart from at feeding time or when the pens are being cleaned out, so they will be nervous and timid.
If you go to view a puppy and his mother is nowhere to be seen, be suspicious. Some breeders will remove puppies from their mothers at less than eight weeks, which is not recommended. A puppy should stay with its mother until 12 weeks of age; by then it will be fully weaned and have had its shots.
You should also be wary of puppies that appear timid and nervous. A well-bred puppy will be boisterous, playful, and curious. He will greet you with bright eyes and a frantically wagging tail. Be wary of any puppy that appears to be aggressive. Again, this is not a good trait, particularly if you have children.
Happy Family Pets
Whether you buy from a local breeder or an online puppy store, as long as you follow the advice above, you should end up with a happy, healthy puppy to welcome into your home.