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5 Tips for Choosing a Happy & Healthy Dog

Each of us wants a happy and healthy companion. As much as we love these loyal pawed friends it is heartbreaking not to mention expensive to keep visiting the vet every few days.

Thus it is important to ensure that when you are buying your dog you do not get so caught ht up in the excitement that you forget some few essentials

1. First impressions

First impressions matter, a lot. A health dog is alert, if the dog is in a litter the look for a dog that is social and interested in what is happening around. A dog that isolates itself from others may be a bit under the weather or anti social.

Take your time to observe the dog in its natural environment.

2. Check-up

Ask a vet to do a check up, this may reveal any existing medical conditions and also give you an idea on the health status of the dog. This check up will include taking the weight of the dog and temperature, normal temperature of a dog will range from 38.5- 39.0 degrees celcius.

3. History

Ask about any history of illness. If possible get a copy of medical records. Ensure that your dog has been given the necessary vaccinations. If the dog was from a litter you can also ask about the health of the litter mates. This while not conclusive might give you an idea of what to expect.

It is also necessary to know if the dam (mother of the dog) suffered any transmissible diseases.

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4. Senses

To carefully evaluate the health status of your dog, you can use all your senses except taste. Use your sight to observe the dog. Pay attention to gait and temperament. You can also check the dog for discharge from the nose and eyes.

As you hold the dog, run your fingers through the coat. The coat should be shiny and hair shedding should be minimal. Ensure that there are no signs of parasites such as fleas and ticks.

Healthy dogs shouldn’t have any odours. Bad breath could be a sign of infection in the mouth. Some conditions such as fungal infections will also cause the dog to have unpleasant odours.

These odours may also indicate that the dog hasn’t received a good wash for some time, if you are not sure just ask.

Listen for any abnormal sounds such as wheezing and coughing. You can also palpate the lower part of the chest underneath the armpit to feel for the heartbeat. Puppies will generally have a a faster heartbeat than adults.

5. Unusual behaviour

While dogs may not express what they feel using words, they exhibit signs when they feel unwell. These signs serve as an indicator that the dog is in trouble. If a normally docile dog suddenly becomes aggressive, then something is not right. Look out for the warning signs

- Limp when walking

- Going round in circles

- Dog refuses to eat

- Unprovoked aggressive dog behaviour

- Bleeding

A happy dog is alert to people, strange sounds and will show interest in its surroundings

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