With any of the clients I see every day, before they come into the door, the first requirement is having a pet. Lots of my friends had asked me to accompany them to choose a pet or do a check-up once they have got them.
“So what do I look for?”
Well, frankly, the most obvious thing with puppies or kittens is whether they are active.
Young animals are energetic, active, playful and excited to almost any stimulants. Playing with them is not only enjoyable, but also let me have a brief exam with them. Some obvious things like eye discharge, nose discharge, or sneezing can be easily observed, however, there are many things that aren’t that obvious, and many are hidden. For example, serious diseases like distemper, parvovirus may not be obvious when we meet them for the first time since they have a period where symptoms are not apparent. This is known as the incubation period. For viral diseases like these, the incubation period may sometimes be as long as 2 weeks. Same in cats, viral diseases such as FeLV, FIV or cat flu may not be as obvious.
Other problems you may encounter are diseases that are inherited, conditions like patellar luxation, hip dysplasia, or cryptorchism. These are harder to identify without a proper examination from a vet, but there are breeds that are more prone to these. For example, Poodle, Chihuahua, and Pomeranian are more prone to patella luxation. Golden Retriever and Labrador are prone to hip dysplasia etc.
Once you have acquired them and brought them home, get them a warm comfortable place to settle down, let them adapt to the new environment, and provide adequate food and water. It is also a good idea to get them a health check and detect any early signs of disease or attention that need to be addressed, things like deworming or defleaing are basic maintenance many people forget.
If your young ones become lethargic, ate less, inappetence, or even anorexic, they are usually unwell or getting really sick. Young animals do not have a lot of reserves in the body, they cannot withstand diseases or illnesses that adult can cope easily. When puppies or kittens are not eating, even for only half a day, medical attention is needed, and treating underlying disease is crucial.
Having pets is a great experience and has proven to benefit kids. It teaches them of responsibility and helps kids with self-esteem. Having pets can also reduce the development of common allergies, and some studies even show that pet owners are less likely to get sick.
The last thing I will mention: try to ADOPT whenever you can.