We got feedback from some readers who unknowingly bought unhealthy puppies from pet shops, we decided to come up with this article for people to gain a better chance of having a healthy puppy.
Do note that this does NOT guarantee you in getting a healthy puppy, it only increases your chances.
Firstly we want to encourage people to adopt instead of buying, because adopting from shelters would not only save dogs which are abandoned, but also safer for new owners because these dogs are checked for virus and diseases before putting up for adoption, most are also potty trained, and the best thing is that it does not cost much money to adopt. The only downside is that you will not be able to experience the puppy-hood of a dog, which is the reason why most people wants a puppy. But if it is not a criteria for you, why not adopt one?
If you are really interested to adopt and also want a puppy, keep a look out because once in a while there will be healthy puppies up for adoption! After all, selecting a dog is not like choosing a shirt, it is a living thing and will be with you for over 10 years, it will get old, become sick and weak, you will have to take care of it, not abandon and throw to the shelter, spending months or even years to choose a dog you really want is actually nothing compared to taking care of it.
Alright back to choosing a puppy, first of all, what breed do you want and why? Think of these questions first:
Is it allowed in HDB flats?
Does the breed need a lot of exercise?
Does the breed need a big space?
How big can it grow up to?
Does the breed you want have any known genetic problems that you do not know of?
These are very common problems with most people, they buy on impulse, either because it's cute or because it's cheap. The first rule to selecting a puppy is, do not fall into the "love at first sight syndrome". Resisting the temptation of cuteness is crucial as it can easily blind you from looking at other important signs. You are right, puppies are so cute how can anyone resist? Puppies are all cute, its hard to show me a puppy that look ugly, among all cute puppies, you still have to bring only one home, so pick properly, you don't want to bring home a puppy that grows much bigger than you can manage, or one that will die in a couple of days, in your arms.
When you first visit a pet shop, look it up, check up the store name/address online, see if there's any bad feedback. Look around, is it clean? Are dogs cramped together? Do they put very tiny puppy on sale? Even though some tiny puppies are just put up for booking purposes, it is still not a good idea. Puppies that are younger than 3 months old should be with it's mother 24/7, no such thing as putting on display for 1-2 hours per day, doing so will mess up the puppy's mind, it will be looking for it's mother whole day long. Dogs develop certain characteristics depending on how much the puppy socialize with it's parent. Dogs bought from pet stores have higher rate of becoming anti social due to being left alone most of the time, when i say anti social, i am not talking about a quiet and calm dog, i am talking about a serious issue, anti social dogs are always in fear, they are afraid of people, afraid of other dogs, always hiding, afraid of new things and get scared by sound/moving things easily. Although young puppies can overcome anti social behaviors if taught right, most people do not care and would start to cuddle when the puppy shows fear, this will only speed up the anti social behavior and ruin their whole life.
Ask the sales person to put the puppy with the others, does it play with the rest? Or would it hide in a corner? Hiding is not shy, it is an anti social behavior, unless it is sick, puppies should be naturally playful and active, puppies do not think much, they just play, eat and sleep.
Now put the puppy alone, then carry it up again, it should either be playing with you, licking or doing nothing, it should not whine and cry.
Look at it's eyes, are they clear and white at the corner of it's eyeball? Push up the eyelid gently, it should not be too red or yellow. Look at the nose, it should be wet but not watery, nose should never be dry. Smell the ears, lift it up if it has looped ears, it shouldn't smell bad. Now lift the lips with your finger from the side, look at the teeth and gums, gums should be pink, not red or pale pink, teeth should be starting to grow slightly, not bare gums if you are getting a 3 months old puppy. Try to press open it's mouth to see clearer, you could ask the sales person to do that for you if you do not know how, tongue should be pink, breath should smell bearable. Sometimes their mouth smell bad because they are having wet food, but make sure it does not smell so bad to the point that it is unbearable.
Touch the body, feel the bones behind the back, you should not feel too much of the backbones to make sure it is not too thin, slightly underweight is still okay, they should not be too fat though. It should feel just nice, puppy tends to have baby fats and it will clear up as they grows. Feel the skin all over the body, there should not be skin problems like flaky skin or rough wounds.
We would recommend you to carry a few puppies to get used to the feel and weight, try not to buy the first puppy you see. After finalizing your purchase, make sure you bring the puppy to a vet to check for signs of disease or sickness. There are already many cases where puppies are diagnosed with Parvovirus, they are very deadly and affects the whole shop.
That's all we can advice, we hope you have a good time choosing the right dog for your family, don't forget to say hi to us when you have gotten one!
If you see a shop that doesn't seem right, call SPCA or AVA and they will send someone down to check.
SPCA : 6285 7355
AVA : 6471 9996
SPCA : 6285 7355
AVA : 6471 9996