Paws For A Minute® Puppy series: Teething Tips

The teething stage of puppyhood can be so annoying, keep you on your toes and constantly chanting a chorus of “No’s!” Most new puppy people have arms that resemble a heroin addict covered with needle marks. Puppy teeth hurt like crazy! 

There are several stages to this function of puppyhood and good for new puppy parents to know how to deal and what chew toys are good for each stage. Usually this topic is not discussed in detail as to what and how to deal with this sometimes painful playtime. Having a zillion toys on the ground often don’t get noticed, especially if you don’t have the right toys for the right stage!

8 week to 10 week old pups: Squeaker toys are awesome at this age. It helps pups focus and follow you. Oversized “dog” stuffed animal toys fantastic. At this age pup’s are just beginning to chew so biting into a stuffed toy instead of your arm helps the play process. Ice cubes are also a big hit during playtime. Toys that roll are essential to your sanity and keep your pup moving.

11 to 14 week old pups: During this stage they are beginning to really teethe! Tempting to repeat the word no constantly as they gnaw on everything. By the way, this stage will pass. Don’t think this will become a bad behavior or that you have a devil dog. In the meantime, think exercise and reverse psychology with trading in your arm for the right toy. Being smarter than your puppy when he’s being evil works. What satisfied your pups urge to chew a few weeks ago  may not be working anymore. Bring in different toys! 

Planet dog brand has great softer rubber toys pups this age love them. Pigs ears and bully sticks are your ticket to peace during these weeks. Hold the bully stick while your puppy chews. Holding it identifies the stick as the right chew bone. I know it seems obvious however, you’d be surprised at how fast they’ll learn what to chew. If it’s just laying on the ground they may not seem interested in it until you give it them to chew. 

 

A helpful tip is to define a chewing area that’s  a gated space, in a central part of your house. This helps to keep your puppy on a bit of a schedule, preventing your insanity and puppy’s constant freedom. It also helps them to focus on the art of chewing.  

 

Chewing is function of a puppy not a behavior, what they learn to chew on becomes the behavior over time. You get to teach your puppy what to chew on, so setting a puppy schedule helps.

Good news! Adult teeth appear when your puppy turns 6 months-old, like clock work — all breeds. Promise!

Must-know Checklist For Senior Dogs

Paws For A Minute® Quick Tip

Dog Owner Checklist for Senior Dogs

1. When your dog turns 6 years old have a complete medical examination with your vet.

2.  Examine your dog occasionally when cuddling for lumps and bumps.

3. Have your dogs teeth cleaned. This can prevent major problems in the future. This is very important, especially for toy breed dogs.

4. Speak to your vet about your dogs food. Nutritional needs change over time. Adding a few supplements or changing your dogs food to a senior diet could be needed.

5.  Aging dogs sleep longer and deeply. Dog parents with children need to remember to recheck their reality. What was and still is a nice dog may have physical changes happening that we aren’t aware of (such as sight changes and hearing loss) due to the aging process. Even the nicest dog can snap at a child how is approaching their dog to pat it while sleeping.  Note any changes in your dog and communicate this to your children or create a new schedule for your dog as to where he/she naps.  If you have young children, creating a baby gated space for your aging dog to sleep will protect both.

6. Do some training on a leash! Yup, bring back the puppy in your older dog. The leash will formalize this fun exercise and really create the focus and attention your older dog will love then go through some old tricks. Your older dog will love the attention and praise for this accomplishment. Training also enables you to see if your dog is hearing or seeing properly. Changes can happen subtly but go un noticed. As your dog ages it’s common to go into a bit of a  “dog owner denial” and think our dog is just being stubborn, when really other changes might be taking place. 

7. Become aware of your dogs water intake. This can be an indicator of changes on the way and vet’s welcome new information. Noting water intake changes, eating and sleeping habits help guide your vet too in helping to Always check with your vet.

Thinking Puppy? The Truth Behind Professional Breeders

Paws For A Minute® - Puppy Series: What goes into the cost of a well-bred pup?

Ready for a new puppy? Many people break down their search by picking their breed first. Lab, German Shepherd Dog or Poodle, whatever your fancy all can be found on the internet. Remember though, not all pure bred dogs are well-bred!

All pure breeds can be found in the shelter and/or breed rescues. Often healthy fabulous dogs can be found in every city. Sometimes it may take a bit of research, calls or asking veterinary staff but rescuing a desired pure breed dog is possible. If you choose to find a professional breeder on on-line beware, not all breeders are reputable.

The show breeders often do not advertise and the professional breeders can be mixed in with other puppy mill type breeders. The best thing to do is have knowledge about your chosen breed, call and ask questions and ask then to email OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) certificates or ratings of the parents of the litter, etc. 

While researching this entire  I found that backyard breeders often do not do health testing on their breeding dogs, which translates to potential un-known heredity issues within the litter. Many breeders can have registered dogs and even pedigree’s but they are breeding potential heath issues such as hip dysplasia.

Every breed has a club which votes in members. These people show in confirmation agility and or obedience and have strict guidelines to their breeding protocols. Usually show dog people who have mastered their breed, gained championships and decided to breed. They are in the business of selective breeding and often keep what they want out of the litter and sell the rest. If you fall into this category of wanting a show puppy, then it’s really important to know what you’re buying and why?

Professional breeders distinguish themselves from other “backyard” breeders in that they show their dogs to champions in the confirmation rings. This is a very time consuming hobby and many championships take years. Often health tests on their breeding dogs are done before any litter is produced. Oddly enough, health testing is not a requirement to showing or breeding a show dog, but most do.  The mission for breeders (in general) is to better their “chosen” breed, so most will. The great thing is that health testing usually comes with certificates and paperwork which you (as the buyer) can ask to see. Professional breeders usually do not breed often and are extremely selective on who gets their puppies. 

So what goes into the cost of these pricey pups? I found a very interesting article written by professional breeder Bill Burns, who breaks down his costs involved in breeding a pedigree’d dog. I called him and asked if I could re-publish his article to help prospective puppy buyers understand what goes into a cost of a high-priced pup. Here’s what Bill had to say..

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How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?

written by Bill Burns /The Kennel At Burns Gardens -Golden Retrievers and Havanese

Searching the web for a pedigree’d pup that’s produced by a professional breeder is a different experience and takes a bit of knowledge to understand all the lingo. To find the good ones and really understand what you are actually buying, other than just a cute puppy.  Not unlike other important life oriented decisions like buying a home, having a child, or even buying a car, a dog comes with a 14 year or more commitment and possibly heath issues.

Many people ask me where the best place to get a puppy from is and my answer varies depending on their lifestyle. The shelter is always filled with wonderful dogs. Each breed usually has a rescue that’s easily found on the web. However, some people want to get a purebred pup from a professional breeder, and that’s okay too, if you know why you want to pay thousands of dollars for a dog and why, what to look out for… hence my desire to write this article!

In the first article, I took a three year time frame that started during the year 2006 and ended in 2009.  For this study, for convenience, I used calendar years.  I also wanted to have some overlap between the studies so that any remarkable changes (like the cost of dog food) would be tempered.  So I used the three year calendar period from 2009 to 2012.  The number of Havanese puppies produced here during that first three year period was 38.  In the most recent three year period the number of puppies produced was 28.     

During each of these periods we paid for vet fees, medicines, wormers, vaccines, progesterone testing,  flea prevention, health testing (Baer Hearing, Bile acid, Cerf for eyes, OFA Patella, OFA Cardiac, OFA Thyroid, OFA Hips, LCP and Elbows), stud fee, semen storage, AKC and CKC registrations and pedigrees, DNA kits, Microchips, vaccines and progesterone testing.  We paid a total of $45,326.64 for those kinds of things during the earlier time period.  During this past three years, we paid a total of $34,924.92.   The breakdown during this most recent period was $24,113.97 for Veterinarian fees; $5,363.01 for medicines, $3,057.44 for health testing, $2,390.50 for AKC and CKC registrations, fees and supplies like Microchips.

Divided equally among the 38 puppies produced in the earlier period the average cost for those things was $1,192.81 per puppy.  For the latest period, the average cost for Veterinarian fees and related items was $1,247.32 per puppy.