Skipper is now almost 8 months old! Time flies by with little puppies turning into rambunctious adolescents. We’re still continuing training at home, a task that never really truly ends with any dog. In case you were wondering how things are going, here’s a recent recap:
Potty training: we still have our hits and misses at this stage. If you’re running into the occasional accident, you’re not alone! Now that the weather is nice, it’s hard to tell when Skipper just wants to go play outside versus really needs to pee, so I think some of these failures are on us. We’ll be working on re-training the humans to recognize his signs!
Commands/socialization: In the beginning, I was pretty good about teaching Skipper new commands weekly or even daily. That’s kind of waned away at this point, and I think his brain would enjoy some new tasks. He LOVES to go new places and meet new dogs, although admittedly he went running through a winery unattended after pulling away last weekend. No one is perfect, and everyone got a good laugh- this little guy is so fast! We also went through a period of time where he would bark when seeing new dogs on walks. Fortunately, this was pretty easily corrected by redirecting his brain to commands and treats. Remember to always keep some motivational snacks in your pocket!
Teething/thieving: Considering that just moments ago he stole a lip balm from my bag… I guess we’re still working on this, too! All in all, the incidents are much less frequent. He still seems to have some weird obsession with pillows… not sure where that came from! Teething, thankfully, has pretty well ended, and we’re so glad that his adult teeth came in correctly, after the baby tooth mishap. I still make sure to keep some appropriate chew items around; those Busy Buddy toys are essential favorites in our house!
Healthcare: Since Skipper is a well behaved, larger breed dog, I’ve elected to schedule his neuter for around one year of age, so we haven’t experienced the cone just yet! He’s all up to date on vaccinations, and we’re doubling up on tick prevention with a Seresto collar AND oral preventives, because the ticks really seem to like his favorite hang outs in the yard. So, what happens now? What kind of vet care do we have to look forward to?
- Annual Examinations: Make sure to schedule an appointment for your puppy’s veterinarian to ensure he’s continuing to develop correctly, discuss nutrition, and behavior at home.
- Vaccinations: All those puppy vaccines your puppy was given when he was just a few months old will need to be boostered at the 1 year mark. Some of those vaccines, like rabies and distemper won’t need to be given again for another 3 years, while lyme, leptospirosis, canine influenza, and Bordetella vaccines must be boostered yearly to maintain efficacy.
- Heartworm Test: At 1 year, we also start performing annual heart worm tests. Remember, this test not only looks for heartworm disease, but also three of the most common tick borne diseases. Even if a dog is kept on monthly prevention year round, this test should always be completed once annually, as some sneaky bugs can slip by the preventives. There is also some concern for the development of heartworm resistance, so we need to make sure that all dogs stay negative, and can safely continue taking their monthly preventive.
- Deworming/Fecal: all that sniffing around in the yard puts dogs at risk for picking up intestinal parasites. Once a year, we recommend giving a dose of dewormer, and checking a fecal sample to ensure there are no unwanted parasites hanging out in the intestines.
- Dental Care: daily dental care is the most effective way to slow tartar build-up. If your canine companion is of a smaller breed, like a terrier, Chihuahua, or Dachshund, this becomes even more important. Your dog’s veterinarian will do a full oral examination each year, and discuss whether he or she will need a full dental prophylaxis under anesthesia with one of our skilled technicians.
The Skipper blog is signing off for now, keep checking our Facebook and Instagram for updates and cute Skipper pictures! We’ll be sure to share his journey through his neuter procedure with everyone this fall! I hope that our trials, tribulations, and tips from raising Skipper have been helpful to some readers, and wish you all the enjoyment and amusement that having Skipper in our lives brings us!
Have a great summer!
-Dr. Conroy & Skipper
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