How to find a healthy puppy or kitten

a new born litter of puppies

How to know which of these cute puppies or kitten to pick?

Which are the ones with the best temperament and the cuddliest?

Which ones will be strong and remain healthy?

Worries about the health of dogs or cats have become an increasing concern for us when we are looking for a new pet. Unfortunately pedigree dogs and cats have a higher incidence of genetic diseases and disorders.

At the time of choosing a new pet we would like to have a look into the crystal ball, but we cannot for better or for worse. However, there are a few things you can do to avoid buying pets with lots of potential problems.

Before you decide on a certain breed you should consider all the pros and cons of this particular breed. This should include the temperament and health.

a new born litter of kittens

Many pedigrees have fairly predictable temperaments and traits. Make sure you know about these before you decide on a certain breed.

It is important to choose a healthy kitten or puppy. Some problems are fairly obvious when you see the puppy or kitten for the first time. There is usually a reason why certain puppies or kitten are smaller then others, the so-called runts. It is nature’s way to tell us that there may be a problem and you should never choose these. Feeling sorry for them may give you health issues for the rest of your pet’s life. Always go for the strongest and most outgoing one in the litter.

Sadly many health problems, particularly genetic diseases and disorders, become apparent only much later in your pet’s life.

a King Charles

Examples of these are leaky heart valves in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

a King Charles

Once you know about all the potential problems and schemes you can select the puppy or kitten from a breeder who does everything possible to prevent his dogs being affected by any of the genetic problems.

a yellow labrador

If we all follow this advice breeders will not be able to sell potentially unhealthy animals and it will encourage them to breed healthy ones. Ultimately this will lead to a healthier and happier pedigree population. For further advice contact us on 01952 245145.

a german shepherd

However, many of these can be prevented or the severity reduced with proper screening of the parents and only breeding from healthy animals. Screening may simply be listening to the heart once a year in the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or x-rays of the hips after 1 year of age for affected breeds.

Hipdysplasia X-ray

You should be aware of the genetic problems of the breed you selected and the schemes available to screen parents. Fortunately there is a vast amount of information on genetic problems. You can speak to us about your particular breed choice or look at the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare website, which is an excellent resource for specific problems.

rcvs accredited

RCVS logo

The RCVS accredited practice logo, which indicates that the practice has passed an independent inspection.

This means high standards of care for animals and peace of mind for animal owners.

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