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72–75 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy

Five Steps for Making Your Puppy's First Dental Cleaning a Success :: Checking Your Puppy For Benign or Dangerous Lumps :: How to Stop Your Puppy from Licking or Mouthing You :: What to Do If Your Puppy is Sleeping Too Much

Checking Your Puppy For Benign or Dangerous Lumps

We think of lumps cysts or as something that appears in older dogs but puppies can get them too. Lumps are categorized into two sizes - small (papules) and larger lumps (nodules). There is also a simple categorization of lumps or cysts as benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Starting to check for these now now will help insure that you will always catch something early on.

The easiest way to check for lumps is to massage and groom your dog regularly. Run your hands over every part of his body (yes, even the private ones). If you feel embarrassed just remember that testicular cancer is a real threat and it is easily treatable if caught early. If you miss a lump, don't worry too much - it takes most of them awhile to grow and develop into something dangerous. Knowing what different types of lumps there are will make the process easier.

The Types of Lumps in Dogs

  1. Lipomas - These are fatty lumps that are not attached to a muscle. They are almost always benign.

  2. Warts - These are seen most often on younger dogs. Caused by a viral infection, they do not usually need to be treated.

  3. Sebaceous Cysts - These are created by the sebaceous gland when it is gets blocked. They are benign but can be removed surgically.

  4. Abscesses - These are sacs of pus which form around points of trauma and wounds. They actually fight infection with white blood cells.

  5. Hematomas - These are sacs of blood near wounds.

  6. Mast Cell Tumors - These are caused by the same cells that defend your puppy's body such as swelling around an insect bite or a vaccination site. They can be benign but are most often malignant.

What to Check For

If you find a lump on your puppy's body, the first thing to do is to stay calm. Most lumps are benign and, unless you haven't checked your puppy for months, it probably won't be that large. If you can pull the lump away from the skin, it is most likely benign. If the lump is red or painful or is discharging, it is possibly malignant. If your puppy has a lump and also has any signs of illness, it is more likely to be malignant. You can wait and see what happens but the main thing to remember is to check it often and if it grows or changes in any way, contact your vet immediately. And if you're concerned, go ahead and call - better safe than sorry.

If you bring your puppy to the vet to have a lump checked, he will see if it's movable or immovable and order a biopsy if he's concerned about it. Biopsies are often done a few times so don't worry too much if the result is positive the first time around. The next step is to have your vet surgically remove the lump so more thorough tesing can be done. Even a benign lump should be removed if it gets so large it is impeding function.

Dogs have many lumps and bumps as they go through life so be prepared to find them now and again. And try to keep calm since most are benign and can be easily treated.

Advice from Other Dog Owners 

How to Keep Your Puppy Off the Christmas Tree

Puppies should be supervised at all times. She or he should be crated while alone, leashed while you are around. Time to teach the "leave it" command. You will really mean it when you fear for the dogs safety! Baby gates might deter him - unless he's that curious kind that looks to defeat all confinement. If he's leashed it's easy to give a sharp leash correction if he goes near the tree. Put the tree up for a few days without trimming to get the dog used to it without risking fragile ornaments.

~Liz H., owner of German Shepherd mix

When Puppies Lose Their Teeth

Puppies have a full set of 28 milk teeth - 4 canines, 12 incisors and 12 molars. The incisors and canines grow in first, the molars last. At around three to four months of age, your dog is going to start losing milk teeth and growing in her adult set of teeth, which consists of a total of 42 teeth - a lot more than the puppy teeth she has. The first to fall out are going to be her incisors, her front teeth. She will start growing her adult incisors first. Around four to five months of age you will see her adult molars and canines to grow in. By about six months, she should have her full set of adult teeth.

~Chris & Brian C., owner of German Shepherd

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