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A Dog Health Checklist for Prospective Buyers

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A Dog Health Checklist for Prospective Buyers

Before bringing home a puppy or dog, go over this simple dog health checklist to avoid unnecessary disappointment. Thousands of people suffer heartbreak when their new puppy becomes extremely sick or dies unexpectedly. Vet bills pile up with these canine health problems and often puppies do not survive treatments. Requesting vet records is not always enough.

Dog Health Problems When Choosing a Puppy

When viewing puppies at the breeder's home, drop a set of keys near puppies that interest you. A puppy should jump a little and then walk over to examine the keys. If a puppy hides and doesn't act interested, you are better off avoiding him.

Puppies with runny noses, a cough or a large pot belly probably have underlying health issues. If one of these puppies really interests you, ask the breeder to have a vet look at the puppy to ensure the puppy is healthy or will become healthy with medications.

View the Breed Registry

A breed registry is basically a puppy's family tree. The puppy's parents are listed along with their parentage. Most breed registries go back for years and provide you excellent information into potential dog health problems.

Breeds like German Shepherds and Dachshunds are notorious for developing painful hip and spine problems. If you have years of breeding to research, you can see if any of the dogs in your puppy's genealogical history required hip or back surgeries.

Check Vaccination Records

Before bringing home a puppy, make sure the puppy is fully vaccinated. If a puppy is missing any shots, request they be completed first. Many troublesome canine health problems, such as Parvo, are prevented with shots. You will need to take the puppy for booster shots to make sure your puppy remains healthy.

Puppies generally do not receive the rabies vaccine until they are older, so verify with the breeder that the puppies have been kept safely inside and not anywhere where they could have contacted a rabid bat or raccoon. Don't be afraid to ask to view where the puppies spend time. If a breeder refuses, it's best to walk away.

Preventative Deworming

Parasitic worms dehydrate puppies quickly and often lead to anemia. They affect dog health in all breeds and stages of life. Ask to see the veterinary records proving the puppy is negative for roundworms, passed from mother to puppy. It doesn't hurt to check for hookworms, tapeworms (especially if you see fleas) and whipworms too.

If you have other pets at home, request the puppy be dewormed before you bring it home. Parasitic worm's egg casings will exit in the feces and potentially infect both you and your other animals if they come into contact with it.

Check Skin Condition

Mange and mites are common dog health problems that you should check for. Demodectic mange is especially dangerous because it leads to red, scabby skin. If an bacterial infection sets in, puppies can die from the infection.

Watch the puppy to see if it spends time scratching a specific area of its body, usually the face, neck and legs. If so, request a skin scraping test to prove the puppy is free of mange. If the test is positive, there are medications and dips that treat the mange.

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