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56–59 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy

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How to Check Your Puppy's Vision

Now is a good time to check your puppy's vision. At this age, a dog's color vision should be mature as well as his ability to see detail. Dogs see differently than humans do in many ways, which means their visual perception of the world is different from ours. Their sensitivity to light and motion, visual perspective, depth perception, and color vision are all vastly different than ours.

Signs of a pup whose vision is not optimal include not recognizing family members when they come into a room, bumping into furniture, the inability to catch, and barking at inanimate objects. If you notice a problem now, you can get early treatment and help prevent further vision problems and even correct current ones. So, it's best not to put it off.

Canine Vision Peculiarities

Sensitivity to Light - Dogs see the best in low light while humans are designed to see best in bright light. This is to enhance a dog's ability as a predator.

Sensitivity to Motion - Dogs can detect an object in motion up to 900 meters while they can only detect a stationary object at about 600 meters.

Visual Perspective - Obviously, a dog has a different visual perspective than a human which is why it can be helpful when communicating to crouch down to his level.

Depth Perspective - This depends on an animal's binocular vision and is affected by skull shape. Dogs seems to have about 60 degrees in their depth perspective, much less than humans.

Color Vision - It used to be thought that dogs could only see in black and white. They actually do possess color vision, though in a smaller range than humans. They appear to view color in blues and yellows.

It's easy to test your puppy's vision yourself. Stand in front of your pup. Move your right hand as if ready to give a command. Then, move your left. Go back and forth a few times and note if your puppy is following the movement. Another trick is to take your pup someplace new. It's possible for a dog to get accommodated to his home and naturally avoid objects but a new environment will be a challenge for a visually impaired dog.

If you see any signs of vision impairment in your puppy, contact your vet immediately. She can run tests to determine the state of his eyesight and recommend any needed treatment. And understanding how a dog's eyes work will help you determine any visual problems he has and gives you a dog's eye view of the world as well.

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 C., 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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