Bringing a furry new friend into your home will be a great time for your family. Not only will your kids love you, they’ll also be kept amused and so out of your hair for a while! All animals are adorable, so you’ll likely spend a significant amount of time fawning over different breeds and variants. However, there are some typical signs you should look for in any cat or dog in order to ensure you’re picking a healthy pet.
Firstly, you’ll want to make sure that your new pet’s eyes are both bright and clear.
Have a close look in the corner of their eyes to make sure there is no guff accumulating as this is one of the main warning signs of conjunctivitis.
Additionally, a healthy kitten or puppy will look extremely alert; they’ll likely be very active and affectionate. If your potential pet looks tired or lethargic then take note, as this can result in extensive (and costly!) veterinary trips early on.
The stereotypical image of a happy dog has a wagging tail and moist noise, although this also applies to healthy cats as well.
Have a good gentle feel of their nose – is it rough and dry? Any colored discharge showing? These are indicators of ill health, so be thorough in your examination.
Another indication of ill health is extensive sneezing. A sneezing puppy may seem adorable at first, but this can also suggest severe allergies or respiratory infection if present for lengthy periods of time.
Puppies and kittens should have ears that stand as per their breed. For example, Jack Russells should have folded over ‘button ears’, whereas a Doberan puppy will have sharp ears that point vertically upwards.
In addition to making sure their ears are typical of their breed, you should also check if any wax or odor is emitting. This may seem strange, but have a slight sniff around their ear and check that they have a sharp, sweet smell.
Have a closer look around this and make sure there are no termites lurking. Some newborns are susceptible to this problem, which can lead to long nights brushing the beasties out.
4) Teeth and Gums
Your puppy or kitten’s bite is extremely important to their overall wellbeing.
Check to make sure that their upper incisors (front-most teeth) are slightly overlapping their lower incisors.
It’s also perfectly fine if these incisors meet edge to edge. However, if there is malocclusion – where the bottom set to overlap the top – then you may have to click here for more information or consult a veterinarian.
Have a quick check of your new pet’s gums to make sure they are pink and healthy. Similarly to humans, white or discolored gums can indicate oral ill health.
Check to make sure your puppy or kitten can consume solid food. By the time they are around 8-12 weeks old (the typical age for buying a newborn), they should be able to consume regular cat or dog food without any problems.
5) General Health
Some overall, general signs to look out for are:
- Your puppy or kitten should be active. By the time they are 8-12 weeks old, they should be able to walk without any issues and will seek to explore their new surroundings.
- They shouldn’t want to sleep all of the time. Just like a newborn child, it’s accepted that newborn animals will need a fair amount of rest, however, overall lethargy and exhaustion suggests they aren’t completely healthy.
- Check to make sure their coat is even and feels smooth. Also, separate the individual strands of hair and have a look at their skin which should be a light shade of pink.
It’s difficult to remain logical when choosing a new pet; their puppy dog eyes and floppy ears can send your heart into a tailspin. However, it’s best for both you and the animal if you avoid choosing newborns that are susceptible to health problems. Not only does it keep you out of the veterinarian’s office, it allows them to remain in the care of someone who can help bring them up to full health.