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How do I make sure I buy a healthy puppy?

This is a question I wish people would take more seriously when purchasing a puppy. Its crazy to think that it wouldnt be the highest priority when buying a puppy. Maybe people dont understand that all dogs are not the same. Some puppies have been so carefully breed that the odds are very high the pup will grow to a healthy dog and live a long healthy life, while other puppies are a time bomb just waiting for the irresponsible breeding to catch up to them. Im not saying that your puppy wont have any health problems but your odds increase dramatically that he/she will have a long full life if you buy from a reputable breeder.
So, how do you do it? I commented some on this in my last post but started thinking how important this really is and how little people seem to know about it. There are all kinds of breeders out there, unfortunately the majority of them are either just trying to make some money(puppy mills) or do not understand the importance of health checking before they breed their “best dog in the whole world” who (unknown to the owner) has a bad heart and hips, or other genetic problem. I dont blame these owners, they love their dog and probably have friends or family that love it as well and want one just like him/her so they decide to try for puppies. Most dont think that maybe there are some genetic issues to worry about…but now you do!
If testing hasnt beed done, dont buy the dog! Ask if the parents have been halter tested (heart test) and what were the results. For the larger breeds, ask if the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia. Do research on the breed you are looking at and see what type of genetic problems that breed is prone to and make sure the breeder has tested the parents for that condition.
All these tests are not cheap, so often these puppies will be more expensive than what you might find in the Sunday paper, but say its 3 to 4 hundred dollars more, isnt that worth 3 to 4 more years (or more) with your best friend? Not to mention the hundreds if not thousands of dollars you will save in vet bills? To me its a no brainer so Im not sure why so many puppies are sold by the puppy mills and backyard breeders. I truely think its just an education issue and hopefully the message can get out there. I want you and your dog to have the best experience possible for as long as possible. Be careful out there!

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