How to Choose a Puppy from a Pet Store - dummies

How to Choose a Puppy from a Pet Store

By Gina Spadafori, Marty Becker

Buying your puppy from a reputable breeder is always your best bet for obtaining a healthy, happy dog. But if you absolutely fall in love with that face in the pet store window, and just can’t resist those puppy-dog eyes, make sure that your fantasy doesn’t turn to heartache and lots of vet bills down the road by following these tips:

  • Establish some background on the puppy. Keep in mind that many pet stores won’t have the kind of detailed information and pedigrees you can get from a breeder. However, they should be able to provide you with a medical history including shot and wormings that have been done; infomation on whether or not the puppy can be registered and if so, with which registry; age of the puppy; and a list of medical problems, if any.

    The pet store probably won’t be able to provide much in the way of a personality profile, so it will be up to you to try to determine if the puppy’s demeanor suits your family.

  • Give the puppy a good inspection. Look at the puppy to be sure that his eyes are bright, there are no signs of fleas or other insects, his skin is pink and healthy, and he shows no raw or hot spots on his back or legs. His gums should be pink and his teeth free from any buildup.

    The pup should appear energetic and inquisitive without being overly aggressive. If the pup strikes you as being quite calm, even sluggish, you’re probably smarter to leave him there as an uninterested attitude can indicate health problems.

  • Ask what kind of guarantee comes with the puppy. In other words, what happens if you get your dog home and a week later he inexplicably dies or ends up in the vet’s office with a list of complications? You should be able to get some remedy from the pet store if this occurs. Most reputable pet stores offer some type of guarantee as to the health of the puppies they sell. If the answers are hedgy, go elsewhere.

Remember, your dog will be with you for years to come. Proceed with caution!