Tips for finding a physically fit Fido
Regardless if you’ve decided to get a purebred dog or a loving “mutt,” you’ll want to make sure that the dog you’re interested in offering your heart and home to is as healthy as they are happy. To help you make such a decision, we’d like to recommend that you follow a few general guidelines in determining the overall health of any dog that you’re seriously interested in adopting or purchasing.
If you’re in the market for a purebred dog, whether for breeding, showing, or companionship purposes, try to familiarize yourself with the breed’s specific body characteristics, as well as any medical ailments that such a breed might be prone to encounter. Have your veterinarian exam your candidates thoroughly to see how well they match up to the breed’s standards and to see if they’re already exhibiting symptoms of common illnesses or physical limitations of the breed.
Ask your vet for input pertaining to any additional medical procedures that he or she would recommend for any of the dogs that you bring in. You might want to request that the vet conduct a basis blood chemistry work-up, a fecal and urine analysis, and/or such things as having the hips of the dog x-rayed if their breed is susceptible to problems and they haven’t already been “certified.”
Always conduct your own thorough “hands-on” exam. Don’t be so wrapped up in the excitement of seeing the dog for the first time that you forget to really “listen, look, smell, and touch” to identify any potential problems. Make a mental note if there are any obvious signs that the dog is anything less than very healthy and follow-up with your veterinarian about your impressions or concerns.
Ask the current owner of the dog for all pertinent medical information that they have on the dog, as well as any of its relatives. If there’s a litter of pups that you’re looking at, spend some time examining the overall health of each dog. Perhaps one will exhibit symptoms of the start of an illness that the other dogs in the litter will now be susceptible.
Don’t disregard an otherwise perfect dog if they simply have an easily treatable medical problem. Consider adopting a dog that has special medical needs only if you can truly give him or her proper treatment and attention that they need. However, you should know that some of these dogs make the best pets as they truly bond with owners who willingly and knowingly open their doors to a dog in need of constant medical care.
The bottom line is to determine what your minimum medical requirements are for selecting a healthy dog before you even begin the selection process. That will aid in ensuring your final choice is a good fit for both you and your new canine companion and that both of you will have a long and healthy life together.