Healthy Puppy Checklist and Warning Signs of Illness
If you have decided to welcome a new puppy into your home you may have to choose one out of a large litter of puppies. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when faced with a hoard of bouncy pups all trying to get your attention and your mind can go blank. Here is a handy healthy puppy checklist to download and take with you when you choose your new arrival.
With puppy farms and unethical breeders everywhere it is so important to check for signs of illness when you initially choose your puppy. Most good breeders will have the pups vet checked but it is still good to know the signs of a healthy dog.
So much can be signified by a dog’s body language so it is good to know what to look out. Some of these will surprise you!
The physical qualities and signs of good body language apply to any age of dog so make sure that you have the list handy when you visit a rescue centre too.
Physical Health Checklist
1 Eyes should be bright and clear with no sign of discharge.
2 The nose should feel cold to touch and slightly wet with no discharge.
3 Ears should have no unpleasant odour, they should have a clean pale pink appearance with no sign of inflammation, redness or sores. Watch the dog to see signs of head shaking or scratching, which can signify an inner ear infection.
4 The dog should feel firm with well-defined muscles. Make sure the dog can move about easily with no signs of a limp.
5 The coat should have a clean, shiny appearance with no sores, dryness or inflamed areas. Additionally, look out for fleas, dandruff or bald patches.
6 Teeth should be white with pale pink gums and odour free breath.
7 The dog should not appear to be under or overweight.
8 Test the dog’s eyesight by checking if he bumps into things. See if his gaze follows your hand movements
9 Check for good body language (see below)
Good Body Language Checklist
1 Alertness. The puppies eyes should be wide open and he should be interested in his surroundings. However, unblinking, stary eyes signify that the dog is frightened.
2 Check that the ears are not flattened against the head, this is a sign of a fearful pup.
3 Tails should be waggy and erect, not tucked underneath the legs.
4 Raised heckles can signify an anxious or aggressive dog. This is when a band of fur along the spine stands upright.
5 A crouching dog is trying to make himself look small, it can be a sign of submissiveness.
6 A dominant dog will rest his head or paws on the head or neck of a less dominant dog.
7 A bossy dog will slam into his littermates and push them out of the way.
8 A relaxed dog will have a slightly parted mouth and the tongue should loll to the side slightly.
9 The dog should not show his teeth, this can signify aggression.
10 Yawning and lip licking is a sign that the dog could be stressed.
11 Check that you get good eye contact with the dog.
12 A puppy who rolls over inviting you to stroke his tummy means he is passive and trusting.
13 A raised paw is extremely cute but it could mean the dog lacks confidence
It is just as important to know what to avoid when choosing a puppy or older dog. here is a list of warning signs that could indicate an underlying health condition.
10 Warning Signs of Illness In A Puppy
- Lethargy… Does the puppy appear drowsy or lacking in energy?
- Diarrhea. …Check that the pups anus is clean and there are no signs of loose stools
- Whimpering. …This may be a sign that the puppy is in pain.
- Licking or Itching. …This could signify a skin problem or fleas.
- Fat Tummy…This can be because the dog needs worming.
- Coughing…This could indicate kennel cough or a respiratory problem.
- Dry Nose… This can indicate dehydration, allergies or general bad health.
- Shivering…This is a sign of fever and anxiety.
- Seclusion…Is the dog withdrawn or reluctant to make eye contact.
- Sneezing…Persistent sneezing can be a sign of infection.
I hope this information helps you choose a healthy, happy puppy which will become a valuable and much-loved member of the family.
Thank you for reading.
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