What should I look for in the new puppy?
Whether you get your new puppy at a shelter, pet store or breeder,
there is always some risk. Will it be healthy? What will its temperament
be? Will it bite or claw? Will it get along with the kids? All good
questions. Of course, there are no foolproof answers, but here are
·Ask the shelter to allow you to spend some time with the puppy
in a private area. Watch how the puppy plays and reacts to you.
If it is nervous and recoils, it may need more socialization. If
he or she is warm and cuddly, you probably have a winner. If you
have children, be sure they come along and participate. The puppy's
reaction to a child may be very different than to an adult. To the
pet, the difference in size is enormous, so their response may vary
as well. If you surprise the kids with the pet without watching
this interaction, you are increasing the risk of picking a less
than perfect puppy for your family.
·Watch for sneezing, runny eyes and/or a runny nose. Upper respiratory
infections are one of the most common ailments we see in puppies
coming from the shelters. This often cannot be avoided (it is similar
to children all sharing colds at school). This is a matter of severity.
If there is evidence of a little bit of a cold, this is common.
If there is enough sneezing and discharge to make you uncomfortable,
check with the shelter staff to see if this puppy needs some medical
attention before it can be adopted.
·Peek in the cage. If you see any signs of diarrhea, check with
the shelter staff.
·Look for areas of hair loss. If the puppy has obvious patches
that appear bald, with or without irritated skin, please notify
the shelter staff.
·Ask lots of questions about the appetite and even try to watch
the puppy eat. If they have a hearty appetite, thumbs up. If they
seem disinterested, try to determine if it is really a lack of appetite,
or just a distracted puppy. You may have to determine the appetite
when you get home. This is one of the main criteria we use when
evaluating new puppies. So always keep tabs on how your new pet
is eating. If your puppy goes twelve hours without eating, please
be in touch with your veterinarian.
Talk with the shelter employees and volunteers. They are very good
at judging how you and the new puppy are interacting, and whether
or not this is the right pet for you.