When you think of getting a dog, puppies are usually the first choice. While the advantages of adopting full grown dog are many, once you set your eyes on a puppy, you’re a goner. All warnings about the horrors of the housebreaking and training periods, which can extend up to 3 years, fall on deaf ears. Being cute and full of verve as they are, it is not easy to resist their charm.
If you’ve set your heart on adopting a puppy even at the cost of chewed slippers and furniture, soiled couches and carpets, here are a few tips that will help you choose the one right for you.
Check whether the puppy is healthy
A healthy-looking puppy may not always remain as healthy as it grows up, but checking for signs of ill health will help you avoid a sickly one. You do want to avoid unnecessary medical bills overthrowing your budget.
When you are shown the puppy, inspect the following:
Eyes and nose – They should have a healthy look. Runny nose and gummy eyes are signs of sickness.
Fur coat – A lustrous coat is a sign of good health. It should be thick, and should have no patches of exposed skin or thinning fur.
Stomach – Puppies tend to have a roly-poly figure, but distended bellies are a sure sign of worm infestation.
Listlessness – If the puppy is not looking bright or not running about energetically, there could be something wrong with it.
Some puppies suffer from a number of health problems all the time. When these chronically ill puppies grow up into adult dogs, they usually develop several serious health issues, even if they are given the best medical attention. So it is better to avoid adopting chronically ill puppies unless you are committed to the selfless act of caring for a weak dog.
Check whether the puppy is sufficiently socialized
As a general rule, puppies are very sociable. They fearlessly approach people and try to play with other dogs. But the stress of being confined to an animal shelter may make them timid and wary of people. You cannot judge the real temperament of a puppy when it’s stressed. Spend some time with the puppy you are interested in adopting. If it seems to be comfortable with your presence, try touching it gently. If it does not shy away from you, it is a good sign. Being too aggressive or too timid is not good, but some amount of aggressiveness as well as gentleness is desirable in a dog.
Check out if the puppy is purebred
The breed of a puppy tells you a lot about the adult dog it will grow into. Each breed has certain characteristics unique to it; some positive and some negative. If the puppy is purebred, you can expect it to show these characteristics, so you can get the one right for your needs. You can approach rescue groups that are breed-specific to source the puppy of your choice.
Even mixed breed puppies can make great dogs, but you cannot be sure about their attributes. You can check out the characteristics of its parent breeds for some idea, but nobody can predict which of them will appear in the puppy. Animal shelters and general rescue homes take in both purebreds and mixed breeds, so be sure to ask them before deciding.
Choosing a puppy with care will avoid a lot of heartburn later, even though there’s no guarantee that it will turn out to be the dog you wished for when it grows up.