What Are The Red Flags To Look Out For When Picking Out A New Puppy

What Are The Red Flags To Look Out For When Picking Out A New Puppy

Even if you encounter a litter of puppies that seem to look the same in appearance, there may be wide differences in the temperament, behavior, and health condition of each of them. Sometimes, these differences can indicate the potential for a behavioral issue, a training issue, or a veterinary problem that can make it more difficult to provide the best care for your puppy. When picking out a new puppy, be aware of some of the red flags to look out for when picking out a new puppy that can make a difference to you as a pet owner later in time.

Careful Physical Examination Can Suggest Potential Problems

You should always see the puppy in person before making the purchase. A good visual inspection will allow you to notice little details that could be revealing about the state of their health and the likelihood of veterinary expenses in the future. The limbs should be straight and strong, the eyes should be clear, the ears should be free of odor and the teeth should be normally aligned. Any deviation from these standards could signal a health problem that may be expensive to resolve or result in the loss of the animal.

Watch Puppy Behavior For Signs of Potential Risks

If you ever see a whole litter of puppies together, you will notice that each has a personality all their own, with some that are very active, some that are quieter in their approach, and some that seem very nervous. The nervous dog may develop undesirable traits in a busy household with active children and may react with aggression or fearful biting. You should always consider the tempo of your household and how you expect the dog to fit into your lifestyle as they grow.

Puppy Eyes Are the Windows To Their Souls

Puppy Eyes Are the Windows To Their Souls

A puppy’s eyes can indicate a great deal about the state of his or her health, as well as their emotional stability. A pup that won’t meet your eyes at all or narrows his eyes when you approach may be nervous and suspicious of your intentions. Animals that have not been socialized with people will often display this kind of reluctance to give their trust to humans. Also, look for any problems of redness of the eyes or abnormalities of the eyelids.

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Interactions With Other Dogs Can Reveal Important Traits

Interactions With Other Dogs Can Reveal Important Traits

Puppies that act aggressively toward other dogs may not have been able to pick up on the rules of canine etiquette. They may not have had much playtime with other dogs. This lack of understanding of canine social etiquette can be a problem when you encounter other dogs you’re walking your pet in the neighborhood, if you have other dogs or when you need to kennel your pet while you’re away.

A Withdrawn Puppy May Have Hidden Health Problems

If a puppy seems withdrawn and uninterested in what’s going on around him, it could be a clear red flag that something may be seriously wrong. Although puppies may suffer from several minor illnesses that may make them sluggish and inactive, withdrawal can also signal a serious infectious disease or some internal illness that may require extensive veterinary treatment. Although a withdrawn pup may touch your heart, overall you’ll be better off choosing one that is more lively and engaged.

Weight and Posture Can Be Red Flags For Poor Health in Puppies

Some physical characteristics can be obvious red flags for the prospective pet owner. A puppy that seems significantly thin, with prominent bones of the spine or ribs, could signal a nutritional problem that may need care, or it could be that the puppy is failing to thrive, even when provided with nutritious food. If the puppy seems hunched over, as if protecting its stomach, it could be a sign of intestinal problems or a spinal problem that could need extensive veterinary care.

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Dominant Dogs May Be Hard To Resist

Puppies that jump up and actively “claim” a person may be interpreted as one that is choosing you, but this behavior is also a red flag for dominance that may translate into a training problem further down the line. Dominant puppies often have a mind of their own and can resist normal training efforts to integrate them into your household and into the general community, where good manners from pets are expected. This personality of puppy may need additional work with a professional trainer, which can mean more cost to you.

Red Flags Concerning Buying From Dog Breeders

Buying a pedigreed puppy from a dog breeder ensures that the puppy will have the expected breed characteristics when fully grown.  However, not all breeders take the same degree of care when breeding and raising puppies, so you should beware of some pitfalls, such as never purchasing a puppy without having seen it, viewing the environment in which it was raised, never giving a deposit for a puppy to be delivered in the future, and not dealing with a breeder that will not provide references, a contract or health certificates for the animal.

Red Flags Concerning Shelter Puppies Available For Adoption

Animal shelters often have some puppies for adoption, and these generally make wonderful pets. However, not all animal shelters are alike, so you should carefully inspect the premises to ensure it is clean, climate-controlled, well lit, and that the animals seem well cared for. Reputable shelters generally provide the required puppy vaccinations, as well as spaying and neutering to prevent unwanted litter. A shelter that does not offer these basic health requirements is a red flag that should be avoided.

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Puppies Separated From Litter Too Early Are A Red Flag

Tiny puppies are just adorable, and you may be tempted to take every young animal home to start training as soon as possible. However, some studies indicate that puppies taken away from their littermates too soon, that is, sooner than 8 weeks of age, may be at risk for developing behavioral problems more than those who have had the security and additional time needed to learn from their siblings. If a breeder is willing to have you take a puppy at 6 weeks, or if a shelter is willing to adopt a pup sooner than 8 weeks, it’s a sign of an irresponsible caretaker, and you should seek out a more reliable source for your new pet.

Positive Traits To Look For While Picking Out A New Puppy

Positive Traits To Look For While Picking Out A New Puppy

A healthy puppy will be bright-eyed and interested in what’s going on around them. Healthy puppies are active and not sluggish in their movements. They approach new situations with curiosity, often mixed with a bit of caution. Well-socialized puppies enjoy interacting with humans and view them as desirable companions and sources of good experiences. They get along with other dogs and are willing to romp and play with them.


Choosing a puppy is a decision you will have to live with for a good number of years, so getting past the avalanche of cuteness and assessing the animal with a clear eye can be challenging for prospective pet owners. However, these tips can often save new pet owners from unpleasant surprises that mean a poor adjustment in the home, behavioral problems, or large veterinary expenses.

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