Choosing A Healthy Puppy

Are you ready to get a puppy? If you are, choosing one that is in good health is important. While there are dogs with special needs who would be wonderful companions, if this is your first dog, choosing one who needs a lot of medical attention likely isn't the best route. So with that in mind, look for these qualities when selecting a puppy.

First, a Word of Caution

You should be able to meet the puppies at the breeder's professional location. This could technically be his or her home, but there should be a breeder permit visible, issued by the city or county (this can vary by location), with that address as the address of business. Never meet the breeder at a third-party location like a store or park. You could be dealing with a disreputable puppy mill if you can't go to the business location.

General Health

The puppy you choose should show approximately the same signs of health that you might see in humans. Bright eyes that don't have any discharge coming out of them, the ability to focus, ears and nose looking clean, and a general interest in surroundings. Ensure you're not seeing ribs on the puppies all the time (stretching is one thing, but if you see the puppy's ribs all the time, that's an issue), and take a look at the general build of the puppy. If the puppy's legs look so fragile that you think they'd break every time the puppy jumped, that might not be a good puppy for you. (That doesn't necessarily mean the dog is unhealthy; "teacup" chihuahuas, for example, can have extremely fragile legs.)


Look for puppies that seem generally content. Tired puppies who have been playing and now want a nap may be reluctant to start jumping around, so looking for one that is active isn't necessarily a required step. But even when tired, puppies should be curious. If a puppy avoids you as if it were afraid of you, or if it just doesn't seem to react at all when you try to pet it, that could be a problem.

Good breeders do try to keep puppies healthy -- and they should be able to show you documentation of required shots -- so you should have a large group of healthy puppies to choose from. However, it's always a good idea to double-check the condition of the puppy you're interested in. Have your puppy checked out by a vet once you get it, and go enjoy your new pet.