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52–55 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy

What to Expect at Your Puppy's First Yearly Physical Exam :: How to Determine if Your Puppy is Doing Well on Adult Food :: A Guide to Longer Walks and Short Hikes with Your Puppy :: How to Deal with Housetraining Accidents

What to Expect at Your Puppy's First Yearly Physical Exam

It's time to gossip with the vet again and find out what sort of Dermatitis Mrs. Goodwin's Terrier has. And, while you're there, it's a good time for your puppy's first yearly physical exam. Even if your vet does not recommend yearly vaccinations, it's important to make this an annual habit to check for lumps, allergies, and anything irregular. This should be a long exam so bring in your list of questions and concerns and demand they be addressed.

In this first yearly exam, your vet will check over your puppy before giving him his vaccinations. This is a thorough exam and you should feel your vet is taking her time with it. Pull out your list at the beginning of the exam so your vet will know what to look for. Try to remain calm so your puppy picks up on your emotional sedateness and stand at the front of your puppy. Say his name softly and tell him what a good boy he is throughout the exam unless your vet moves you.

A Nose to Tail Exam

  1. Nose - Your vet will check your puppy for nasal discharge which can reveal something as small as a cold or something more serious, such as a respiratory infection.

  2. Eyes - Dull, lifeless eyes indicate internal parasites and stress, among other illnesses. Discharge may indicate an eye infection.

  3. Mouth - Your vet looks for lumps and cuts and checks the teeth. If your puppy has excess tartar he may need a teeth scraping at the vet.

  4. Ears - Ear infections and mites are checked for.

  5. Lungs - Your vet will listen to your puppy's lungs with a stethoscope for signs of congestion, abnormal breathing or coughing.

  6. Heart - Early detection of heart disease can help your puppy live a longer life.

  7. Coat and Skin - Your vet will check for parasites, swellings, lumps, and the general condition of the coat.

  8. Abdomen - Lumps, infections, and abnormal distending can be caught when your vet palpitates your puppy's stomach.

  9. Paws and Legs - Your vet will check for swellings, cuts or muscle damage.

  10. Back and Tail - Your vet will check all down your puppy's spine for problems.

Vaccinations Due

  • 1 year old and yearly thereafter: DHLPP, Corona, Lyme

  • 1 year old and every 3 years thereafter: Rabies

  • Bordatella

  • Heartworm Exam

As always, follow your vet's advice about vaccinations. Also, exact timing of this exam may vary by vet so be sure to follow his schedule, though, in general, 52 weeks is the target. Catching any illnesses or problems early ensures you will have every choice available for treatment and help your puppy live a longer and more comfortable life.

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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