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Signs of Healthy Puppy

Signs of a Healthy Maltipoo Puppy

Tips for Choosing the Right Puppy for You


We have already discussed the poll results to the question of 'where did you get your Maltipoo' and the majority of owners either adopted their little one from a shelter / rescue or found him another way, which included everything from literally finding him to taking in a dog from a family that was moving. We have also listed out, based on answers to the survey, Maltipoo breeders where pups were obtained from. 

However, finding a Maltipoo that you want to buy is just half of the journey. It is also important to be sure that the pup is healthy, emotionally well-balanced (to the best extent that you can judge) and is the right one for you. 

How to Know if a Maltipoo Puppy is Healthy

It is very important for you to inspect a puppy for signs of illness, no matter what the seller tells you. Even with a written health guarantee. Once you fall in love with your new puppy, if he or she is sick or even passes away, that health guarantee is not going to make you feel much better. 

Important – if 1 puppy in a litter seems to be ill, we advise to not purchase any puppy from that litter. Other pups may just not be showing symptoms yet. Therefore, use this guideline to look at all of the puppies in the litter…before you go on to the next step that brings you closer to choosing a puppy. 

Please note that this is not all-inclusive; this is a basic checklist to rule out obvious health issues. 

Look at the Puppies’ Coats

The coats should feel clean, not dry or brittle. Coats also should be free of dried skin, dandruff, and without excess oil. 
On an 8-week Maltipoo puppy, the hair will still be considered a “puppy coat.” Compared to the adult Maltipoos that you see, it will be shorter and finer, so do not worry if the coat is not as full as the puppies’ parents.  This said, of course bald patches or hair loss is a huge issue with a pup.

Warning Signs - 
  • Bumps on the skin with white flecks
  • Open sores
  • Dried scaly flakes around the eyes may be mange 
Look at the Puppies’ Eyes 

Eyes should be clear, bright and shiny. The whites of the eyes should be white, not tinted with yellow, or bloodshot with red. 
Warning Signs- 
  • Dull eyes
  • Any discharge
  • Any color in the white part of the eye 
Look at the Puppies’ Ears 

You'll want to try and get a look into the canal, not just the ear flap, so hold each puppy’s ears back to have a good look inside.  

Warning Signs – 
  • Drainage, black specks, or waxy looking
  • A bad odor
  • Shaking or digging at the ears which can point to either mites or ear infection 
Take a Look at the Puppies’ Noses 

The nose may be cool and moist, or warm and dry. This depends on the activity, temperature, humidity, and state of hydration. A warm, dry nose does not always mean he has a fever or is ill. 

Clear discharge may be allergies. Many dog do have allergies, this is up to you to decide if you want to obtain a pup with signs of allergies, which can be very frustrating (and sometimes expensive) to deal with. This said, allergies can be specific to the pup's environment or to the food that he is eating. Do keep in mind that even if you choose a healthy puppy, once he or she is home with you, allergies may develop to your laundry detergent, the dog shampoo you use, the food you feed the puppy and many other possible elements.  

Warning Signs –  

A green mucous discharge occurs – this is a sign of bacterial or fungus infection 

Take a Look at the Puppies’ Mouths
Open each puppy’s mouth and check his teeth. The gums should be a healthy pink and the teeth should be white. There should be no bad breath issues. The most that you should smell is the lingering scent of puppy food. 

Be sure to check the puppy’s bite – or how the teeth match-up together. They can have 3 basic types of bites that canines can have:

(1) scissor bite – the top and the bottom fit together smoothly and evenly 
(2) over bite – the top teeth extend over the bottom teeth 
(3) the under bite – the bottom teeth extend beyond the top teeth. 

Maltipoos should have a scissors bite. This is because both the Maltese and the Poodle have a scissors bite. An undershot or overshot bite, when noticeable in a young pup, can turn into a severe problem as he matures.

Take a Look at the Puppies’ Rectal Area 

This area should be smooth with no loss of hair in the area, the color should be either pink or black. 

Warning Signs-  

If you see worms moving around this area, inform the breeder. This type of worm requires three days of continuous worming to remove them. They are associated with fleas and will hatch out in another two weeks. Do not obtain a puppy with worms, as this is a bad sign – the breeder should have had the puppies de-wormed. 

See if You Can Find Any of the Puppies’ Feces to Look At 

Stools should be firm and not runny. Take a close look to see if you spot any worms. Runny stools or any worms is a big warning sign – do not get the puppy.  

Listen to the Puppies’ Breathing 

Hold the Puppy up to you and listen to his or her chest. 
Warning Sign - Any rasping or wheezing. 

Check for Alertness 

Puppies sleep a lot, however at 8 weeks old, a puppy should wake up and be responsive to you.   

Warning Sign – Acting very weak. 

Check the Puppies’ Walk 

Any puppy should be able to walk on over to you without any problems. 
Warning Signs – Any limping, signs of pain or indications that the pup is dizzy via wobbly gait

How to Choose the Right Puppy for You

If you are given a choice of puppies, you may have a hard time deciding. You will want to look at 2 elements: the Interaction of the puppies with each other and then the interaction of your potential puppy with you. 

Interaction With the Other Puppies 

You must stand back and allow the puppies to all play and interact with each other. See how they play with each other. Who is the most dominant? Are you sure? Okay, that may not be the puppy for you.  

Dominant puppies are pushy and head strong, this is how they became the dominant one. This can point to troubles ahead with training, and possible behavior issues

Which one is the most withdrawn? Is there a puppy that is hiding in the corner, not interacting with the others? Are you sure? Okay, this as well may not be the puppy for you. In fact, this puppy may be ill. Do the health checks as seen above…because if one puppy is sick, all can be sick. 

If the puppy is not sick, do consider that he may be a very shy puppy that is not socialized. If so, this puppy may have a hard time adjusting to your home and to you & your family. He may be afraid of noises, terrified in the car or may jump with fear whenever the doorbell rings.  

Just like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”
you want to choose a puppy that is in the middle of this range…
not the dominant one…and not the one that is most shy. 

However, before you really know which puppy will make the best canine family member, you must now see how they interact with you. 

Interaction With You 

Walk into the puppy penThe puppies should swarm you, not run away from you. If they appear afraid, this is a red flag. 

Sit down on the floor with the puppies – They should all be eager to climb on you and cover you with puppy kisses followed in a little while with chewing on your clothes, hands and shoes... even 5-6 week old puppies will do this. 

Pick up a Puppy –  Based on which pups have so far passed the health test and the interaction tests, pick up the puppy that you are most considering, and at this point you probably have 1 or 2 in mind... turn him over on his back and gently yet firmly place your hand on his chest. He should squirm and try to get away but not become aggressive and try to bite you. If any puppy reacts aggressively.... get in your car and drive away! 

Do a Quick Trainability Test – Take a treat that was already approved by the breeder and show it to the pup you are interested in; really get his attention on the treat and put it under a small cup. He should quickly figure out that if he knocks over the cup he will get the treat. While you may still wish for a puppy that does not understand this test, you will find that a puppy that does pass this is more inclined to be smart and easier to train. This is not needed to make a decision; it just helps out a bit if you are torn between two puppies.

Hints to Know if a Maltipoo Puppy Has Been Socialized

It is very important to have a puppy that has been raised with love and hands-on attention. This is the puppy that will make a great pet. Dogs that are not socialized can be very afraid of the world and it can take months or years trying to do that socialization that should have been done from day one. 

Some sellers neglect their pups, but then take steps to hide this from potential buyers to 'make the sale'. 

Here is one way to test this: 

When you are checking out the puppies, and they are engaged in play, drop something that will make some noise, but be careful not to drop it on a puppy... 

How does the litter react? If they startle but quickly recover then continue looking at this litter. If they run for parts unknown or appeared terrified...this is a big sign that the dogs and puppies have been raised in isolation without being around people.  

Puppies raised in isolation or that rarely see a human other than their breeder, will have trouble adjusting to the hustle and bustle of every day home life. Puppies should be handled consistently and gently from birth. They need to be exposed to different sights and sounds starting at week 3 into 4. They need to see all different kinds of people, of all different ages. They need to hear the doorbell ring, the dishwasher turn on, the microwave beep, etc. 

Health Guarantees/Contracts

All breeders, big and small, pet stores (though not recommended), and animal shelters should offer a basic health guarantee. This should include proof that the Maltipoo was seen by a vet and does not have any outstanding health issues. With breeders, typically this also covers a period of 1 year for congenital defects. 

To back this up, breeders and stores should have you sign a contract that you will bring your new puppy to your own vet within a certain amount of time (normally 48 to 72 hours) for a full and complete examination to show that the pup has a clean bill of health.  If it is found that the puppy is not fit for purchase due to health, congenital or hereditary disorders only, the contract should state that the breeder will exchange the puppy.
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