Quick Health Tips and Questions for Puppy Adoption

Quick Health Tips and Questions for Puppy Adoption - a group of dogs lying next to each other

When you’re ready to bring a dog into your home, it’s easy to be blinded by the cuteness factor. Who doesn’t love puppies? You’ve probably taken the time to consider the logistics of where the dog will sleep, the toys you’ll get for them, how you’ll train them, and more, but there’s just one thing missing: the dog.

As soon as you’ve decided that you’re ready to get a puppy, you have to consider the best method of adoption.

Adoption Through a Breeder

If you have your heart set on a specific breed or need a hypoallergenic dog, you’ll probably have to purchase your pup through a breeder. While it’s not impossible to find a corgi or Goldendoodle puppy in a shelter, it is extremely rare.

You know puppy mills and dog stores should be avoided, but there are still things to look out for when searching for an independent breeder.


The Internet makes it easy to find breeders online, but don’t take the breeder’s website or Facebook page at face value. Read the reviews or reach out to previous customers to inquire about the breeder. 

You want to ensure that the breeder is treating the dogs humanely. The best way to do this is to visit the breeder in person, but even a video call can help you understand the surroundings that your puppy will spend the first few weeks of their life in.

Health of the Parents and Puppies

If a breeder is hiding the puppies’ parents, that could indicate a health issue. Usually, the breeder will have at least the mother present so the puppies can be nursed, but if it’s possible, take a look at the father as well. This will give you an idea of what the puppies will look like when fully grown and give you an insight into any potential health complications. Ask the breeder about the dogs’ lineage and any possible health risks. 

At the same time, the puppies should have plenty of energy and be at a healthy weight for their age. Look for shiny coats and no eye or nasal discharge. A healthy puppy has a greater chance of becoming a healthy adult.


Before adopting a puppy, ask the breeder how much socialization the pup has gotten. Although unvaccinated pups can’t go outside, they can still interact with humans and vaccinated dogs in their homes. This can also help you understand their temperament or personality to judge whether the dog will be a good fit in your home.

Adoption Through a Shelter or Rescue

If you don’t care what kind of breed you get and you’d rather adopt instead of shop, then picking a puppy through a shelter or rescue may be the best way to go. The biggest risk with adopting a puppy through a shelter or rescue is not knowing the pup’s history or even their exact breed. But there are still questions you can ask to ensure you get the right dog for you and enrich both your life and the puppy’s life.

Shelters vs. Rescues

While shelters and rescues serve the same basic function, there is a slight difference between the two. Shelters typically take in surrendered dogs or street dogs, while rescues focus on saving dogs from kill shelters, dogs with medical needs, or certain breeds of dogs. Shelters will generally have all of their dogs on display for you to see during business hours, whereas rescues usually have a decentralized foster system.

Questions for a Shelter

When looking at adopting a puppy through a shelter, ask an employee

  • If the dog’s vaccinations are up to date
  • If the mother came in pregnant or with the puppies, and if the mother is still there
  • Whether the puppy was surrendered alone or in a litter
  • What medical care is provided through the shelter post-adoption (some shelters will provide spaying/neutering and the rest of a puppy’s vaccinations as a part of the adoption fee)
Questions for a Rescue

When exploring adoption through a rescue, ask the company

  • Where the dog was rescued from and the circumstances surrounding the rescue
  • If there are any known health issues with the dog
  • What the dog’s current foster situation is and if you can visit with the foster family
  • How the dog has reacted or grown in its foster environment

Once you find the newest member of your family, the rest will fall into place. All that matters is that you bring the right dog home and can shower them with the love and attention they deserve. After all, they’re all good dogs.