If you don’t mind chew marks on your furniture or your carpet becoming the toilet, having a puppy is a day at the beach. Otherwise, you should probably stick with a more mature dog. They are cute, yes, but labor intensive as well. It could take as long as 3 years before they fully mature. Before they reach their third birthday, you have already endured 3 years of constant training and 3 years’ worth of test on your patience and dedication.

Don’t say you weren’t warned. If you are insistent with adopting a puppy, the following recommendations will help you in picking the one that matches you and your needs.

Look for a dog with a clean bill of health.
Sure, puppies develop diseases as they grow into mature dogs. Still, a clean bill of health should be the first thing you should look for in a potential would-be puppy. Some telltale clues that the puppy has or does not have any physical problems are:

Nose and eyes – These should be clean and clear of any debris that is associated with sickness such as mucus. These should also look healthy.

Coat – The coat should have a polished, thick look. It should also have no patches of skin or thin fur.

Belly – Puppies are often potbellied when their tummies are full. A puppy that has a swollen belly is a good indication that it is harboring worms.

Chronic sickness – Be warned with puppies that have chronic sickness. No amount of medical attention can help if the puppy is chronically sick. Also, a sick puppy often grows with major health problems into adulthood.

Check if the puppy is socialized.
Most puppies are energetic and take pleasure in playing around with their owners and other dogs. Although you can’t test the true behavior of puppies around people in confined, stressed environments like animal shelters, you can test their behaviors by handling them for a few minutes. A socialized puppy should be comfortable with human touch. If it isn’t, it is probably the most aggressive puppy or the least trustful. Either way, you should find one that is both placid but quite aggressive. You need both in a dog.

Check out the puppy’s breed.
The puppy’s breed often determines its general trait when it’s fully grown. What you want is a breed that matches your personality. If you are the type of person who loves to go out, you should get a breed that is good for outdoor activities. If you just want a dog for long-term companionship, you should look for mid-sized companion dogs. Toy and lap dogs are the best choices if you are looking for a small dog that you can bring with you to most places.

You should also check whether the puppy is purebred or mixed bred. It is often hard to identify a purebred or mix bred puppy, but try to use the source as an indicator. There are rescue groups that are breed specific, there are those that are aren’t. Most animal shelters foster mutts and purebred alike. Be sure to ask for information about the puppy’s breed before you give it a new home.

Check out some great recipes:

Boo’s Biscuits

Boo’s Biscuits 3 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 2 cup Quaker oats 1 cup milk 1/2 cup hot water 2 beef or chicken bouillon cubes 1/2 cup meat drippings Dissolve bouillon cubes in hot water. Add milk and drippings and beat. In a separate bowl, mix flour... [Read more]

Multi-Grain Dog Biscuit Treats

Ingredients: 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups whole-wheat flour 1 cup rye flour 1 cup cornmeal 2 cups cracked wheat (bulgur) 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk powder 4 tsp salt 2 cups chicken stock 1/4 oz active dry yeast (one package) 1 egg 1 Tbsp milk Directions: Preheat... [Read more]

Champion Cheese & Veggies Chews

Champion Cheese & Veggies Chews 1/2 cup grated cheese — room temp. 3 tablespoons vegetable oil 3 teaspoons applesauce 1/2 cup vegetables — what ever you like 1 clove garlic — crushed 1 cup whole wheat flour nonfat milk Mix cheese,... [Read more]

Doggie Biscuits

Doggie Biscuits 3/4 c Hot water or meat juice 1/3 c Margarine 1/2 c Powdered milk 1/2 ts Salt 1 Egg, beaten 3 c Whole wheat flour Mix well – roll in to small logs in your hands and bake at 325 degrees for about 50 mins.  Read More →

Doggie Bone Treats

Doggie Bone Treats 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 1/2 cup wheat germ 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening 1 teaspoon brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 egg 1/3 cup water Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a cookie... [Read more]

Classic Canine Cookies

Classic Canine Cookies 4 cups whole wheat flour 1/4 cup cornmeal 1/4 cup cooked rice 1 egg 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Juice from a small orange 1 2/3 cups water Mix all ingredients together well. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll... [Read more]

Canine Meat and Grain Menu

Canine Meat and Grain Menu 2 cups cooked brown rice 2/3 cup Lean beef 2 teaspoons lard — or veggie oil 1/4 cup vegetables — no onion* Supplements Mix the above. You can cook the meat if you want to, use your judgment. Serve slightly warm.*For... [Read more]

Dog Cookies With Chicken Broth

Dog Cookies With Chicken Broth 2 cups whole wheat flour 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal 1/2 cup sunflower seeds — shelled 2 tablespoons corn oil 1/2 cup chicken broth 2 eggs 1/4 cup low-fat milk 1 egg — beaten Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large... [Read more]

Dog Mini Cakes

Dog Mini Cakes 2 cups whole wheat flour 1/2 cup soybean flour 1 cup skim milk — or water 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon canola oil — or sunflower 1 teaspoon sea salt Mix dry ingredients. Add liquid and honey. Mix and let the dough rest in... [Read more]

Cheese N Garlic Bites

Cheese N Garlic Bites 1 cup wheat flour 1 cup cheddar cheese — grated 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon butter — softened 1/2 cup milk Mix flour and cheese together. Add garlic powder and softened butter. Slowly add milk till you form... [Read more]