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Quick Health Tips & Questions for Dog and Puppy Adoption

A puppy pokes its head through a cage

Welcoming a new canine friend into your home is an amazing privilege. Though all we want to do is give a loving home to a deserving pup, there are a few things to consider throughout the searching process. You want your new furry family member to be around for years to come, making it so important to ensure their health at time of adoption. So how can you do this?

In this article we’ll discuss the questions you should ask when adopting a puppy or dog, and help you make the best decision on your future furry friend!

What Do You Need to Know When Adopting a Puppy or Dog?

When searching for a new canine friend to bring into your home, it’s easy to get swept away in the cute faces and wagging tails that you may meet. You may fall in love with every pup that crosses your path, but it’s important to keep a few tips in mind throughout your search.

So often, new pet owners bring their pups home to discover brewing medical conditions soon after. With irresponsible breeders on the rise, it’s more important than ever to make sure your puppy is coming from a breeder that has their best interest at heart. This is true of dogs that are adopted as adults as well, as you never want your time with a new furry friend to be limited.

The best way to ensure the health and happiness of your new pup going forward is by asking a few important questions. To make sure you are prepared for your upcoming search, let’s discuss the list of questions that you should have prepared!

Adopting or Purchasing A Puppy

If you are adopting or purchasing a puppy from a breeder, there is a specific set of questions that you should be ready to ask. Understanding where your puppy is coming from is essential in ensuring a healthy future, and will save you from bringing a potentially ill puppy into your home. To help you maneuver your journey, let’s discuss our puppy checklist below.

The Breeder is Reputable

If you are interested in purchasing a puppy from a breeder, we urge you to do a bit of research first. Most reputable breeders will have a reputation around their community for having healthy and happy puppies, and will often have a list of satisfied customers. You can review this by doing a quick online search, speaking with your veterinarian, speaking with local kennels, and even turning to neighborhood forums.

The Puppies Look Healthy

Once you are at the breeder’s home and are ready to pick out your puppy, we suggest looking at all the puppies and animals in the area around you. Do they look healthy? Are they energetic? Are they a proper weight? Do they have any nasal or eye discharge? Does their coat look healthy? If you are feeling questionable about any of these assessments, this may not be the right breeder for you.

The Parents Look Healthy

It’s a well known trick for breeders to hide the parents away if they are not healthy or up to par. Because of this, it’s important to always insist on seeing the parents before you bring a puppy home. Not only can this give you an idea of what your puppy may look like as an adult, but it can also ensure that they are being properly cared for as they breed.

How Much Socialization Has Been Done

Another important question to ask is whether or not they have been socialized. While a puppy may not be able to go out in public until they are fully vaccinated, they should be able to mingle with other vaccinated puppies or adults in the home. This can also give you a chance to ask about their temperament, and what they have noticed about your puppy’s personality.

The Dog’s Health History

One of the most important parts of purchasing a puppy involves gathering a detailed medical record from the breeder. When adopting a puppy, they should come with medical paperwork that clears their parents of any medical conditions, clears the puppy of any ailments or conditions, and a detailed list of any medications or vaccinations received. If they are unable to provide you this documentation, it may not be the best option.

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Adopting an Adult Dog

Adopting an adult dog may be a different process then purchasing a puppy, but it still comes with responsibility. To help you find the best dog for you, let’s discuss our checklist for adopting an adult dog.

Their Background

When adopting an adult dog, it’s important to know as much about their past as possible. Not only can this help you better understand your new pup going forward, but it can help you create the best home possible for them.

We urge you to ask as many questions as possible when it comes to better understanding their past. This may include asking about their parents, why they are rehoming them, asking about any previous conditions you should be aware of, and more.

If you are adopting from a shelter, there are a few questions that we encourage you to ask:

  • Were they brought into the shelter by a previous owner? If so, why were they surrendered?
  • Were they a stray? If so, where and how were they found?
  • Did they arrive at the shelter with any injuries or medical conditions?
  • How long have they been at the shelter?
  • How has their temperament been at the shelter? Are they anxious? Friendly? Shy? Aggressive?
  • Have they been around other animals? If so, how did they do in that situation?

While these questions are shelter specific, they can be tailored to fit any situation. If you are adopting an adult dog from an owner that can no longer care for them, you can always ask a series of these questions as well. The more you know about the dog’s past, the better chance you will have at a happy future together.

Their Health

Though you may not know everything about a dog’s past when adopting them as an adult, you can certainly get peace of mind by asking a few questions. No matter where you are adopting your adult dog, you should always receive proof of the following:

  • Evidence of a recent health check by a veterinarian
  • Proof of all vaccines they have received
  • Proof of all deworming medications they have received
  • All microchip paperwork and how to register them under your name
  • Medical documents from any previous illness or ailments

Their Personality/Temperament

Understanding a dog’s personality is important when welcoming them into your family. Not only is this essential for keeping your family safe, but in offering your new dog comfort as well. It’s best to ask about any triggers you should be aware of, how well they socialize with other pets, how well they socialize with other humans, if they experience anxiety or stress in any situations, and any other useful information about their temperament.

What Food are They Eating?

The last thing you should always confirm is the current food they are eating. This will help your dog transition easier into daily life in your home, as well as avoid an upset stomach from a sudden diet switch. You should also ask about any treats they seem to enjoy, and their favorite toy choices as well.

As you can see, there are many ways to make sure you have chosen the best furry friend for your family. Be sure to review the information that we discussed above, and you can better maneuver the pet search process going forward!

Meet The Author 

Amber LaRock

Vet Tech & Trainer

Amber is a Licensed Vet Tech with a degree in Veterinary Technology. Recently she has specialized in veterinary and animal-related content creation and social media management. When she is not working she loves spending time with her furry friends exploring the outdoors.

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