October 31, 2008, Newsletter Issue #19: Signs of Common Puppy Health Problems

Tip of the Week

When you buy a new puppy, you should know a few signs that can help you avoid getting a dog with one of the common puppy health problems. While many of these problems are curable, it is best to get a puppy that is healthy right from the start.
Check your puppy's teeth. The top and bottom teeth should meet. If one set of teeth sticks out past the other set instead, your puppy has an overbite or an underbite. While this does not stop the puppy from being a wonderful addition to the family, it is a major fault, which means you will not be able to show or breed your dog. In addition, you may be spending much more on dentistry as your dog grows older than you would on a dog with a normal bite.Turn your puppy onto its back and take a close look at its belly. Many times, a puppy will have a hiatal hernia and you can see the bump from the hernia on the lower part of the belly. While it sounds a bit scary, most hernias naturally go away as the puppy matures. However, the worst cases will need corrective surgery.Put the puppy down and watch it romp around on the ground. If it is favoring a leg, you may have a puppy with a bad knee or hip. Operations for these problems can be very costly.

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