SkipperConroy

New Puppy Life

As veterinarians, we tend to be pretty good at remaining somewhat objective towards our patients and their parents.  Every so often, I have an experience with one of my own fur babies that reminds me how challenging some pet experiences can be, veterinarian or not!

Enter my most recent eye opener: Skipper, 9.6 lbs of German Shorthair Pointer cuteness. At some point, my husband and I said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to have a puppy?”  Have you ever had that thought? And then immediately wondered what in the world you were thinking, 24 hours after bringing said puppy home?  Yup.  I’m with you.  Let me tell you, nature made these things cute for a reason! Skipper, named after the cannon which Virginia Tech fires following each touchdown, happens to be the first puppy my husband and I have (attempted) to raise in our adult lives. I’ll be keeping you up to date on the latest triumphs and tribulations via the Skipper blog, and offering some tips and tricks along our journey.

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The first days with your puppy are stressful to you both.  His whole world just changed: new surroundings, new humans, new dogs, new food, and maybe even a new furry chase-able thing equipped with daggers (aka cat).  This is like dropping a kid off at college, on steroids. The most important thing is to establish consistency and positivity in all aspects of this new world.

Allow your puppy some time to settle before expecting him to learn commands/tricks.  You’ll both need to get to know each other a bit before you’ll know the signs your pup is ready to pay attention and learn during training sessions. There are some things, however, which you should start instilling immediately. Puppies are learning every second. Even in the absence of teaching, his brain is learning, so set expectations early.  This may include potty training (stay tuned for the next blog!), off limits areas, and refraining from nibbling the humans’ appendages. For example, I don’t particularly look forward to 65 lbs of canine on a new leather sofa.  Therefore, 9.6 lbs of tiny Skipper isn’t allowed on it, either. No matter how cute and cuddly he is when he’s sleeping.

If you haven’t noticed, those puppy teeth are SHARP. When the puppy goes to bite, loudly say, “OUCH!” The fun stops abruptly, and briefly. Just enough for the puppy to figure out bite=no play, then give him something he CAN bite.   This same “remove and replace” concept applies to all other objects: curtains, couch cushions, shoes, your underwear, leaves on the ground, you name it.  Use “Leave it” instead of “Ouch,” for objects.  Puppies do better when you preemptively occupy their mind, so replace “Don’t do that,” with “Hey, try this!”  This means you should always keep a toy or two in your pocket, and treats as well! If you take the puppy outside, to a friend’s house, etc., the toy goes with!  As an added bonus, during play time and snuggle sessions, take some time to touch his toes, tap on the toenails, put fingers in his ears, and lift his lips.  This will set you up for success for nail trims, ear cleanings, and teeth brushings! Veterinarians reserve a special place in our hearts for owners like you who teach these things early!

Now is also a time to instill independence and confidence in your pup.  When he is playing alone, with HIS toys (not to be confused with your shoes or the cat’s tail), admire, adore, and take all the photos you want, from afar.  Allow him to sleep alone in his bed without constant snuggles or interruptions. If you have tiny humans in the house, they’ll need to be instructed to respect his time and space as well.  As your puppy’s parent, it’s your responsibility to guide everyone else in how to interact with him.  It takes a village to raise a puppy, and it’s ok to recruit others to that cause.

In summary- be consistent and positive! Everyone involved in puppy raising should be on the same page, and use the same processes and commands, to help the puppy learn. If I say, “Leave it” and my husband says, “Drop it,” poor Skipper basically needs to learn English and Spanish all at the same time!  You are not alone with all the challenges and joys that go along with puppy parenthood.  In fact, Skipper has been home a week now, and brought me at least 5 different shoes this morning, attempted to eat a frozen/petrified frog from the pond, and had 3 accidents on the floor through the day.  Apparently, no one told him that his mom is a veterinarian and he should make her look good.  Lucky for you, we’re putting all this on the blog for your entertainment, and hopefully some helpful tips!

Much love and puppy kisses,

Dr. Conroy & Skipper

#FF #PuppyLife #Vetsrus

dulles south veterinary center facility

Other Services

Acupuncture

  • Musculoskeletal problems: back pain, arthritis/degenerative joint disease, muscle soreness
  • Neurological disorders: weakness and paralysis resulting from intervertebral disk trauma, spinal or nerve problems
  • Gastrointestinal conditions: diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease
  • Other chronic conditions not responding to conventional therapy, including but not limited to: skin allergies and dermatitis; lick granulomas; epilepsy; respiratory conditions; hormonal imbalances; infertility and internal organ dysfunction
  • Prevention of disease and promotion of well-being, geriatric support, and performance enhancement

Grooming

Let us pamper your pet at our Day Spa! We provide pet grooming for all breeds of dogs and cats. Our grooming services include:

  • Clipping and scissor cuts
  • Dematting
  • Flea Dips
  • Ear Cleaning
  • Toenail Clipping
  • Regular Baths
  • Medicated Baths
  • Fluff Drying

Boarding

We provide boarding services for our client’s dogs and cats. Our separate cat and dog wards ensure tranquility for the cats and companionship for the dogs. All of our cages and kennels are indoors and therefore, temperature controlled with installed smoke, heat, and motion detectors. Because boarding is supervised by a veterinarian, you can be comforted that all of your pet’s medications will be properly administered and he or she will receive prompt medical attention, if needed. 

Nutritional Counseling

Diet and nutrition are important to maintaining your pet’s health. Feeding your pet a specially formulated diet to meet the needs of adulthood helps encourage a long and healthy life. We will provide guidance regarding your pet’s nutritional needs for each life stage, including dietary requirements for growth, weight loss and maintenance, and performance. Please feel free to consult our veterinarians to help you find the right food to fit with your pet’s lifestyle, body condition, and health needs.

Hospice Care

If you choose, Aldie Vet will help you provide end-of-life comforting care, to your terminally ill or dying pet. This will allow you to spend quality time at home with your pet until such time as you decide to euthanize or until death occurs.  We will provide assistance, as requested, as it relates to pain and symptom control, wound care, problems with incontinence and other aesthetics, and changes in behavior patterns.

Euthanasia

When you have reached the extremely difficult decision that there is no quality of your pet’s life or that your pet is suffering, our veterinarians will be there to help you through the process of euthanasia. Please feel free to discuss the process and ask any questions to our veterinarians. They are very familiar with the experience and are able to talk with you about the process and feelings that go with it. Also, please click our Pet Bereavement link for additional information.

Feline Friendly and Fear Free approach

Feline Friendly & Calm Canines

Fear, anxiety, and stress lead to undesired behavior conditions which make it more difficult to diagnose potential problems your pet may be experiencing. This is the reason our team is committed to providing a Whole Pet veterinary care approach. We don’t just treat your pet’s physical conditions, but ALL conditions, which include emotional.

Preparing for you and your pet’s visit starts well before you arrive. We take into account what we know to be the contributing factors that lead to some pets fear, anxiety and stress and create a plan that will persuade pets to enjoy their veterinary visit for years to come.

Sad doberman dog, not a lost pet though

How To Avoid A Lost Pet

Unfortunately, pets get lost on a daily basis.  Microchipping your pet is the easiest and most likely way to ensure he will be returned to you.  While identification via a tag on your pet’s collar is great, most pets get lost due to an ill-fitting collar.  According to a study by the ASPCA; 50% of dogs and 75% of cats are not wearing a collar when they are found and brought into a shelter.  Other means of permanent identification would be a tattoo, these are usually done inside the ear or inside of a hind leg.  This allows for easy identification without specialized equipment.

Microchipping is a safe and easy way for your pet to be identified if it ever gets lost.  Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are injected with a needle under your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades.  They are encased in biocompatible material and have an anti-migration cap to help prevent movement in the pet’s body.  Once a microchip is registered that information will remain attached to that chip.  If you ever move or change your contact information it will be important to update your microchip information.  According to Home Again Microchips, only 10% of microchips are actually registered after they are implanted.  Remember it doesn’t do you any good to microchip your pet if you don’t register the chip!

Another great way to ensure your dog is safe and by your side when outdoors is to make sure you have a properly fitted collar and leash.  Collars should fit snugly, you should be able to get two fingers under the collar comfortably, but not be able to pull it over your dogs head.  We also don’t recommend walking your dog with a flexi-lead.  While these allow great freedom if you are out playing ball, for most walks they allow your dog to get too far from you.  It’s not uncommon for a dog to take off after something (a squirrel or another dog) and when they hit the end of the flexi-lead it is yanked from the owner’s hand.  A short 6-10’ nylon leash with a handle is preferred because it will be harder for your dog to get away from you.

The last defense you have to prevent your dog from getting away from you is good obedience.  Even a well-trained dog could be tempted not to listen if they are hot on the heels of an elusive squirrel.  You should practice having your dog come, stay, and sit in all types of situations while they are on a leash and safe.  If your dog will listen to you during the most hectic situations, he will most likely listen to you in an emergency situation.  It’s not enough for your dog to come and stay in a quiet home environment.  It’s important to practice these skills in all types of situations; it will also increase your dog’s confidence in himself and your bond together as a team.

The best defense against your dog getting lost is to prevent it from happening.  Practice safe walking technique and good obedience.  But always be prepared just in case with clear ID tags and a registered, current microchip.