Tips for Adopting a Healthy Dog
Veterinarian Reviewed on July 24, 2008 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Believe it or not, when adopting a dog you need to make sure the dog is healthy first. Unless you are intentionally adopting a dog with special health issues, finding a healthy dog is an important step in the adoption process. Many new dog owners make the mistake of assuming that the dog is healthy and then become overwhelmed and incapable of dealing with a dog’s health problems. The following are some general guidelines that will help you to adopt a healthy dog.
Adopt from Reputable Institutions
When adopting a dog, try to choose organizations that have a good reputation or that are well known. Choosing a well known institution like the SPCA for example, will ensure that you will be informed of all the dogs health needs. Certainly, organizations such as the SPCA care as much about animals as you do and they would want to be sure that the dog is well taken care of.
Visit a Veterinarian
Before committing to adopt a dog, agree with the agency that you can have your own veterinarian perform a check-up on the dog. This will certainly cost you a bit of money but you will be sure that your new dog is in good physical condition.
Know Your Breeds
Especially if you are considering adopting a pure bred dog, you should know as much as you can about the breed you are interested in. Many pure bred dogs have specific health conditions that can come about at any age. This is an extremely common problem that should not be overlooked. In fact, there may even be some medical procedures that your veterinarian will recommend to prevent future illness or health concerns. In addition, ask your vet to conduct a thorough blood test and fecal and urine analysis as these tests can provide information about possible future problems related to breed.
Interact with the Dog Before Adoption
Many new dog owners fail to give due attention to the dog before they adopt him or her. Adopting a dog is an exciting time in one’s life but it is important to not get lost in that excitement. Spend as much time with the dog as possible to see how s/he interacts with you and pay special attention to possible behavioral problems. In addition, by observing the dog, you can watch for any strange characteristics that might be a warning of health problems.
Get the Medical Information
Finally, be sure to ask for any pertinent medical documents or histories before you adopt a pet. This will hopefully give you a clear indication of the dog’s current health.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan