When buying a puppy, you must know whether the puppy has had vaccinations and has been wormed. A reputable breeder will provide you with this information.
Ask the breeder what health checks have been carried out on the parents and grandparents of the puppies. This can help to reduce the risk of inherited genetic diseases.
The health check is a chance for your vet to look at a puppy’s eyes, ears, and mouth and a full body palpation. They will feel for asymmetry, swelling, or lumps and assess the mucous membrane color, heart rate and lung function, and capillary refill time (a rough assessment of blood circulation).
The breeder should also be able to tell you whether their puppies for sale near me have been weighed regularly since birth and whether they are gaining weight appropriately. If they are not, this could indicate poor diet or illness.
It’s a good idea for a new pet owner to try to stick with the same vet in their area, as it helps to build up a rapport and makes them more familiar with your dog. This allows them to spot subtle changes over time, which may be the first signs of a problem that needs addressing.
A reputable breeder will already have standardized health screenings in place for their litters, as they will want to ensure that all of the puppies that go on to new homes are healthy and safe. They will also have records of the parents’ health tests and any genetic problems the puppies may inherit.
The first step is ensuring the puppy has a vet check before it goes to its new home. A good breeder will be open about this and include details of any vet findings in the contract or guarantee that comes with the puppy.
This will include a thorough physical examination and blood tests. It is worth checking that the parents have also been tested for conditions relevant to their breed (e.g., the autoimmune thyroiditis gene). The breeder should be able to show you the results of these tests.
Some tests require sedation so that the puppy can be examined, for example, the heart scan, but other tests are not intrusive and can be performed without sedation. These can include auscultation and echocardiograms, a method that allows the veterinarian to examine the heart’s valves, chambers, and fluid movement in the sac surrounding the heart. This gives the vet a prominent picture of the heart’s health and can help identify problems.
When asked to prioritize criteria for a quality health check, many participants assumed the tests should provide certainty about whether a dog has a disease. Even when the moderator pointed out that this was impossible, the participants still focused on this characteristic as a primary attribute of a quality check. This indicates that they see the value of testing for preventable diseases regarding their benefits to the dogs.
Genetic testing involves collecting a DNA sample from a dog and screening for specific diseases or traits. This can help a breeder identify potential breeding pairs that won’t produce at-risk puppies.
Reputable breeders test their dogs (the dam and sire) before breeding them. They also make the results of these tests available to prospective buyers.
A DNA sample is collected from a dog or cat’s cheek cells and then screened for specific mutations that lead to disease or traits. The genetic variants found on a gene are called alleles and are controlled by a combination of the parents’ genotype (their inheritance pattern). A dog is considered “clear” for a disease if it carries no affected alleles. It is a “carrier” if it does have one of the genes that lead to disease, and it will pass the disease or trait to approximately half of its offspring.
Genetic testing is an integral part of responsible breeding, and it is a tool developed by close collaboration between parent club organizations and scientists. It is not a substitute for carefully selecting appropriate mates, but it can be an essential aid. It should be used with other health checks and screenings, such as the OFA certification of hip dysplasia, a veterinary evaluation of the mother’s eyesight and thyroid, and a complete veterinary exam of the puppy.
Microchips are the dog tags of the future – they can carry all the information someone will need to find your pet and get it back home. They also don’t fall off while your pet crawls under a chain-link fence or gets caught in a tree, they don’t wear flat over the years and become unreadable, and they can hold much more information than a tag could.
Ask your breeder if their puppies will be microchipped before they go to their forever homes. It’s a great way to show that you care about your puppy’s lifetime well-being and are committed to their success in your new family.
A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice, and implanting it is quick and easy. The needle used is slightly larger than the one for a standard vaccination, and some young pets can feel slight discomfort while it’s being placed, but most don’t notice. It’s even easier to microchip your pet when they’re already under general anesthesia for another reason, like a spay or a dental cleaning.
A microchip doesn’t guarantee that your pet will be returned to you if it gets lost because not all microchips are registered. But it can significantly increase your chances of having your pet returned to you if you keep your registration current. It’s easy to check and update your contact information through AAHA’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool or the Netizens report manufacturer’s database.