Puppy Milestones: 4 Things You Need to Know

Posted on January 13, 2020 under Dog Articles

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for the Pets Best Pet Insurance Agency, offering pet health insurance for puppies and dogs.

In honor of National Puppy Day, here are some fun facts about puppies. Do you have a new puppy at home? Do you know the important milestones of puppy development? Find them out below!

1. When do puppies lose their baby teeth?
Puppies begin losing their baby teeth around 12-16 weeks of age. The first teeth that fall out are the incisors (the tiny little teeth at the front of the mouth). Around age 4-6 months, puppies will lose their canine teeth which are those sharp little fang teeth. Puppies lose their molars last, usually around 5-7 months of age. The age at which your puppy will lose its baby teeth depends on the breed and size of the dog.

2. When will my puppy be house trained?
As soon as you get your new puppy you can begin the process of house training and teaching the puppy to go potty outside. However, if you don’t provide enough trips outdoors, your puppy may not be able to hold it for very long! As a rule of thumb, you can expect your puppy to hold its bladder for 1 hour for every month of its age. That means that a 5-month-old puppy cannot be expected to hold his bladder for more than 5 hours. Your best bet for minimizing accidents is to take your puppy outside to potty right after he wakes up from a nap and right after eating and playing. Once puppies reach 6 months and older, they have full control over their bladders and they can start to sharpen their housetraining skills into perfection as adults. Keep in mind that even older puppies and adult dogs can still have accidents in the house sometimes!

3. When will my puppy lose his baby fur?
There’s nothing as soft as puppy fur. This fluffy baby coat is typically shed around 6 months of age. However, the breed, time of year and exposure to light all affect the hair growth cycle. Some breeds will take even longer to shed their puppy coat and replace it with an adult coat. Keep your puppy well groomed and brushed to minimize shedding in the house.

4. When will my puppy mellow out?
This depends on the puppy! Smaller breeds reach maturity faster than larger breeds. Usually, dogs reach maturity between 6 months and 1.5 years of age. For example, your 1-year-old Chihuahua might be completely mellow, but a 1-year-old Great Dane might still act like a puppy. Often, dogs will still have excess energy as young adults for a few years after puppyhood. The breed is another factor in determining when an individual dog will mellow. Some breeds are mellower than others naturally, and some breeds are highly active. The point at which your puppy will stop acting like a puppy really depends on the breed and the individual. Some of us are always young at heart!


Contact Us to schedule an appointment for your new puppy!

Time for a pop quiz!

Q: Is “flea season” over?

A: Trick question — in Hampton Roads, flea season never ends!

The series of photos below depicts flea dirt (aka flea feces, aka flea poop) removed from an indoor-only cat this past week.

Fleas can transmit Tapeworms and the bacteria that causes Cat Scratch Disease. Large numbers of fleas can cause anemia, especially in puppies and kittens, and weak or sick pets. Additionally, some pets are highly allergic to flea bites, resulting in extreme itching and fur loss.

Get the facts about fleas.

Clients, please Contact Us for a flea product recommendation for your dog or cat.

Flea dirt dry and wet

IT’S NATIONAL SQUIRREL APPRECIATION DAY!

Just in case you’re unsure what there is to appreciate about squirrels,
consider this:

squirrels landing like superheroes

Speaking of, this couple is probably not in the mood to celebrate squirrels.

Bonus Squirrely Fun!

 

 

Pyometra is a potentially fatal disease of female dogs and cats that can be prevented through ovariohysterectomy surgery [spay], in which the pet’s ovaries and uterus are removed. Intact (non-spayed) females are at risk for pyometra, which often presents 1-2 months after estrus [heat cycle]. Elevated hormone levels can lead to greater than normal secretions in the uterus, providing a breeding ground for bacteria.

Affected pets may have an “open” pyometra, in which pus, mucus, and blood may be seen draining from the vulva. Alternately, in a “closed” infection, the accumulated pus does not drain, and the pet may show more severe signs of illness. Symptoms of pyometra can include lethargyanorexia, depression, and excessive thirst. Additionally, pets with ”closed” infections may exhibit vomiting and diarrhea, shock, and collapse. However, fever is not always present.

In most cases, spay surgery is the preferred remedy for pyometra. Due to the illness, the risks of surgery are elevated because the infected organ must be removed from the body without introducing its contents to the body cavity. Adding to the risk is the pet’s poor general health as a result of the infection. For these reasons, prevention through early spay surgery is recommended.

Infected dog uterus and two normal uteri

 

If your female dog or cat has not been spayed and is showing signs of illness, especially after a recent heat cycle, talk to your veterinarian about whether pyometra is a concern.

 Glossary

  • anorexia – loss of appetite
  • estrus – the portion of the reproductive cycle in which female animals will accept a mate; “heat”
  • intact – not spayed or castrated
  • lethargy – tiredness, reluctance to move or engage in normal activity
  • ovariohysterectomy – surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus; “spay” surgery
  • pyometra – infection of the uterus
  • vulva – the external female genitals

Resources:
Saunders Manual of Small Animal Practice (Birchard, Sherding)
Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary (Blood, Studdert)


This article is not a substitute for medical care. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you believe your pet is exhibiting signs of illness or injury, contact your regular veterinarian or veterinary emergency hospital right away.

How will you celebrate pets in January?

We missed out on National Cuddle Up Day, but there is still time to train your dog, walk your pet, adopt a bird, and appreciate squirrels. So much to do on these brisk winter days!

Have fun!

 

January Pet Events

Weird Cat Behaviors Explained —
by Pets Best Pet Health Insurance

Cat inside a box

Posted on December 19, 2019 under Cat Articles

Cats are one of the most fascinating creatures on earth. They manage to simultaneously be one of the most efficient predators in the world, while also being our domesticated buddies that have evolved to enjoy human companionship. Cats haven’t changed much since befriending humans; however, there are plenty of examples of odd behavior that mesmerizes owners.

Let’s go over some of the most exciting cat behavior facts and look at some of the weird things cats do.

1) Rubbing Their Head on Things
One of the most common cat behaviors is when they rub their heads on various objects, other pets, or you. While it may seem like a strange behavior, it is actually quite understandable. Cats experience the world through scent, so when they rub against you, they are showing that they trust you and are claiming you as their own. In fact, you could even consider this headbutting and rubbing as a sort of greeting, so these types of odd behaviors can be explained quite easily.

2) Slow Blinking
Do you sometimes notice your cat slowly blinking while looking at you, as if it was sleepy? Well, many people may want to write this facial expression off to the fact that cats are weird, but really, it’s perfectly normal behavior. When cats blink slowly, they are showing you affection – they indicate that they trust you enough to close their eyes. If you slowly blink while looking back, they can also interpret this as a sign of affection, so it is a way for you to bond with your feline buddy.

3) Kneading
Cats are well-known masseuses. Their owners often find amusement in the fact that their cats like to use their little paws to massage them, but this strange behavior also has a very positive backstory. It can be traced back to the earliest instincts that a cat develops, which is to knead their mother’s mammary glands, stimulating milk production. When an adult cat kneads, it usually means that the cat is content, relaxed, and is also perceiving you as their “mommy”.

4) “Zooming” Around the House
When you’re trying to sleep, hearing your cat zooming through the halls and rooms at light speed can be quite annoying. While this unusual cat behavior may appear out of place, this cat behavior can be explained quite easily. You need to remember that your cat has a ton of energy that it doesn’t get to use up because it’s living in a comfortable home setting. Combine this with the fact that cats are nocturnal hunters and you can easily explain why your cat has the urge to sprint around the house, playing with its toys, other cats, or even your toes.

5) Chattering
Chattering is one of the weirdest cat behaviors, and the truth is, even scientists aren’t exactly sure how it evolved. According to some, it is a sign of frustration when the cat sees a prey in the distance and cannot reach it. Others think that it may be the cat trying to mimic the sounds of birds to attract them. Although the exact underlying reason isn’t clear, one thing is certain – chattering is one of the most bizarre and entertaining behaviors that you can see.

 6) Purring
 7) Laying Belly Up
 8) Sitting in Boxes
 9) Laying on Your Computer
10) Eating Grass

Click here to learn the secrets behind weird cat behaviors 6-10!

Kitten on its back


Photo credits
Top: Tomas Ryant
Bottom: Pixabay
Both via Pexels.com


Pets Best
Although cats can often become our closest companions, they are mysterious creatures whose behaviors can sometimes be hard to understand. In this article, we went through some of the more common feline behaviors, but you should monitor your cat and talk to a veterinary professional if you aren’t sure in any situation. At Pets Best, we offer comprehensive cat insurance that keeps your feline companion covered and protected. Get a quote online or call 1-877-738-7237 to learn more!

Typical broken New Year’s Resolutions:

eat less
exercise more
stop smoking
be kinder to mother-in law

Now here’s a resolution you can keep:
Protect your pet with veterinary pet insurance.

Pet insurance

If your pet is healthy and active, you may not believe that insurance is necessary. But this is actually the best time to buy pet insurance. Here’s why:

*Will you get a telegram announcing that a pet emergency is on the way? No!
Pet injuries and accidents are often unforseen, which means that your healthy, active pet could suddenly wind up in the emergency hospital with a treatment bill totalling in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Wouldn’t you like to have help footing the bill? Of course you would!

*If your pet is diagnosed with a chronic illness, your insurance options will become limited.
Don’t count on pet insurance companies agreeing to cover pre-existing conditions. Most won’t. Get your pet protected before it develops disease, so that you’ll have help covering the costs of treatment.

Remember: although many illnesses and injuries are unpredictable, it’s a pretty safe bet that the longer your pet lives, the more likely it is to develop an illness — like kidney, liver, or heart disease. You don’t have to handle those long-term care expenses on your own — if you opt to insure your pet before it develops disease.

*Pet insurance premiums tend to be lower for young, healthy pets.
Who doesn’t want to save money these days? And you can opt for coverage for routine care items, such as vaccines, heartworm and flea control, spay/neuter surgery, and annual lab tests. Preventive care is an important part of keeping your pet healthy — and pet insurance can help you pay for that, too!

So where do you start?

Check out these companies, all licensed to insure pets in Virginia:

ASPCA Pet Health Insurance

Pets Best

Nationwide Pet Insurance

Trupanion

Brochures for these companies are available at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic.


This post originally appeared on January 16, 2014.