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How to Choose a Healthy Pure-Bred Puppy

WebMD veterinary expert answers commonly asked questions about how to choose a healthy, friendly pure-bred puppy as your new family pet.
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Q: What’s the best age for bringing a puppy home?

A: The ideal time is 8 to 12 weeks, especially with small or toy puppies. Breeders usually want to keep those a little longer because they’re fragile when they’re young. So a 12-week-old Yorkshire terrier puppy is very acceptable, where a hardier breed, like a Labrador retriever, is ready to go at 8 weeks.

You also need to check with your state, because some states have a minimum age for selling puppies.

 

Q: How important is it for puppies to be raised around people?

A: Socialization is paramount with any dog, especially in that 8- to 16-week time frame and after proper immunization, You need to get the dog out to see as many people as possible and expose it to as many situations as possible.

 

Q: I’ve found a litter of puppies I like. What signs should I look for to be sure they are healthy?

A: You want to look at the surroundings. Make sure it’s a nice, clean, well-run home or facility. The puppies should have bright eyes. They should be very curious. They should run right up to you. You shouldn’t see a nasal discharge or runny eyes. If you see them poop, they should have a firm stool and no diarrhea. You don’t want a lethargic, uninterested puppy.

 

Q: How do I choose the puppy with the best personality?

A: The responsible breeder will more than likely select the best puppy for you from the litter. They’ve spent 8 to 12 weeks with the puppies and they know the personalities of each puppy. They know which ones are bold and outgoing and which are the shy ones. And the breeder knows the bold, outgoing puppy will do much better with that active family with three kids versus the shy puppy, which needs to go with the single owner who can spend more time with it so that puppy won’t feel overwhelmed.

 

Q: Will most breeders give me a health guarantee and agree to take the dog back if I can’t keep it?

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