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.
- 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.
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
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