If you are going to be getting a new puppy, then you want to make sure you know how to check a puppy out so you are less likely to end up with one that is sick or has other issues that will need to be treated. Do keep in mind, sometimes a puppy won't be symptomatic when you are looking at the litter, but they may become ill after you bring them home. For this reason, it's never a good idea to introduce a new puppy to your home until your current dogs are all up to date on their shots. The information below will give you a guide you can follow to increase your odds of ending up with a healthy puppy.
Verify the puppy is old enough to take
A puppy should be at least 8 weeks of age in order for it to go to its new home. As a matter of fact, this is a law in many states. Not only does a puppy that's less than 8 weeks still require nutrients from its mother's milk, but it will also receive other important things from its mother such as appropriate dog-to-dog interaction, proper puppy behavior and confidence. Taking a puppy away too young can lead to a dog with health problems, behavioral issues, anxiety, fear and other problems.
Look at the puppy's behavior
A healthy puppy should have plenty of energy. If the puppies are napping when you come to look at them, go ahead and wake them up so you can make sure they are healthy. They should move around freely, run, play with each other and be alert and curious. A puppy that appears to be sluggish and lazy may have something wrong with it.
Look at their eyes
A puppy's eyes should be wide open and free of gunk. If you notice that the puppy has a discharge coming from their eyes, then this can indicate they have health problems that can include a respiratory illness, an infection in their eyes or a sinus infection.
Look in their ears
A puppy's ears should be clean and a pinkish color on the inside. If you look in their ears and see what looks like dirt or coffee grounds, then this can mean they have ear mites.
Check for fleas
If a puppy has fleas, you may be able to see them running around on their skin. However, if you don't see the fleas, then you should still be able to see their excrement on the puppy's skin, especially on their belly or in the folds of their legs. Flea excrement will look like little dark brown, red or black dots. While getting a puppy with fleas may not be a big deal, you do want to understand that having fleas increases the chances that the puppy will need to be treated for worms.
Check their hearing and eye sight
The puppy should react to loud sounds, such as the sound of you clapping your hands together near them. You also want to see that they move around confidently without bumping into things.
Now that you know what to look for, you will have a better chance of coming home with a healthy puppy. It is important to take them in for a well puppy visit and so they can get started on their pet vaccinations as soon as possible. You can also contact a local vet before finding your puppy and see if they have more tips to offer on how to ensure your pup will be healthy.