Poodles For Dummies
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No matter where your Poodle comes from, she should be healthy. You may feel sorry for the sick puppy in the corner, but don't take her home. Start with a healthy Poodle, and look for the following:

  • The coat should be clean and shiny.
  • The dog should move freely, with no limping or wobbling. Puppies aren't always graceful, but a puppy shouldn't be falling down or staggering when it moves.
  • A Poodle shouldn't have open sores, and she should look well fed.
  • The eyes should be clear and bright, with no discharge or swelling.
  • Lift up the ear flaps (properly called leathers). The interior of the ear should be pink, not red, and you shouldn't see swelling or discharge. Sniff gently to make sure you don't detect an odor.

If you're buying a puppy from a breeder, ask to see the mother (and the father, if possible). The mother dog should be healthy as well. She may look a bit thin; having a litter takes a lot out of a dog, but she should otherwise look healthy. You may not be able to examine her as closely as a puppy, but the same criteria apply.

Make sure the dogs are housed in a clean, well-lit, well-ventilated area. The bedding and surrounding area should be clean. The area doesn't have to be sterile, but it shouldn't smell or have an accumulation of dirt, feces, or urine.

Go elsewhere for your puppy if the environment is dirty and the dogs aren't healthy. Don't feel so sorry for the puppies that you "rescue" one. This just encourages the breeder to produce more puppies, and you may not be able to save the sick one. If she doesn't die, she may never be a completely healthy adult. And you'll expose any dog you already have at home to disease.

About This Article

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About the book author:

Susan M. Ewing has been “in dogs” since 1977 and enjoys showing and trying various performance events, with an emphasis on “trying.”
She holds a master’s degree in Television/Radio from Syracuse University in New York and has attended canine seminars at Cornell University. She’s a member of the Dog Writers Association of America, as well as the Cat Writers’ Association, and is listed in the 2005 edition of Who’s Who in America.
Ewing has been writing professionally since she was 16 and is the author of several books: The Pembroke Welsh Corgi: Family Friend and Farmhand (Howell); A New Owner’s Guide to Pembroke Welsh Corgis, The Pug, The Dachshund, and German Shepherd Dogs (all TFH Publications); and Bulldogs For Dummies (Wiley). Her column, “The Pet Pen,” appears in The Post-Journal (Jamestown, New York) every Saturday. One of her essays is a part of the book Cats Do It Better Than People.
Other articles of Ewing’s have appeared in AKC Gazette, Family Dog, Bloodlines, German Shepherd Dog Review, Good Dog!, Pet Odyssey, Dog Fancy, Dog World, Puppies USA, the national Schipperke Club newsletter, ASPCA’s Animal Watch, Bird Talk, Kittens USA, Cats USA, and Cats Magazine.

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