Choosing the right puppy

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Choose your pup well to provide a long term companion that you'll enjoy.

Before you select a puppy, you must first determine which breed of dogs is most suitable for your needs.

The life span of a dog is about a dozen years so you need to be prepared to be committed for that long. Some of the factors for consideration are hair shedding, space constraint, cost of dog, maintenance cost, veterinary cost, noise pollution, sex of dog, the age, imported or local breed and the vaccination record.

To choose a healthy pup, you need to give a thorough physical examination of the pup. At a glance, the pup should be active and clean with good mobility. Check the eyes and facial features for any abnormalities. There shouldn't be any discharges from the eyes, nose, mouth or ears as this signifies illness. The pup's nostrils and muzzle must be clean and not smell. Its lips should be pigmented and clean.

A drooling mouth is a clinical sign of illness. Gently open the mouth to look at the gums and teeth. The gums should be a healthy pink in color. Look for teeth deformities which may hinder the dog's eating. Teeth should be white except in some breeds where yellow teeth is good and white teeth signifies a lack of calcium. A smelly mouth is a sign of disease.

The ears should be clean. Massage the ear lobe's base and watch for any reaction of pain. Rub your hands over the pup's body, parting the hair to look at the skin. Rashes are indications of skin disease. Look at the chest and the pup's breathing rhythm. Listen for any abnormal sound in breathing.

Feel the pup's abdomen for any abnormal lumps. A swollen tummy is a clinical sign of illness. For a male pup, check that its genitalia are well formed. Lift up the tail to check its anal area. It should be clean and odor free.

Feel the skeletal structure of the pup for lumps, deviation, abnormality or spinal curvature.

If you choose an imported puppy, make sure you take possession of the imported original vaccination certificates, import permit and quarantine papers. Local pups must have their vaccination papers in order.

If you buy a pup directly from a breeder, it would not have experienced any change of environment. A pet shop's pup may not fare well as it was already subjected to stress from the changing housing quarters, lack of quiet time for resting, rough handling by prospective buyers, nutrition stress, exposure to distress living in close proximity to other dogs and animals.

After your puppy purchase, visit your vet within 2 days to check the pup's health. Wait another 2 weeks to observe if any symptoms of disease show up.