Puppy’s Final Vet Visit
Puppy Visit Overview
Success! You've made it to your pup's final puppy vet visit! At this visit we'll do the following:
Click here to review the Puppy Guides from Puppy's First Vet Visit and Puppy's Second Vet Visit.
Your Teenage Dog
Your puppy is moving into her teenaged months soon! Many breeds aren’t completely mature until they’re 18 months to 3 years old. Sadly, many dogs are relinquished to shelters during these ages. So, continue your training and recognize that some days it will feel like you have an adult and others like you have a little 5th grader. This is completely normal! Remember these tools and tricks to get through this sometimes-challenging time:
- Consistency in your rules is SO important for living easily with your dog. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Sit at the doors
- Sit for meals
- Lie down quietly on a mat during coffee or adult-beverage time
- Stay quietly beside you during walks
- Continue to use food puzzles and food games to keep your dog mentally engaged
- Join training classes to spice up your learning with your dog
- Take adventures together – dog-friendly shops, parks with walking trails, training “on the road” in new locations, outdoor café visits
- Training in tricks and sports will help your dog be focused and tired at the end of the day.
Hang in there! You’re well on the way to a well-behaved, happy adult dog.
While it’s very common to spay and neuter dogs at around 6 months of age, there’s some good evidence that there’s benefit to waiting longer, especially for larger breeds. Some studies have shown a small decrease in the risk of the following conditions if spay or neuter is delayed until maturity:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Cruciate Ligament Disease
- Some Cancers
- Anxiety Conditions
The studies have only been done on a few breeds, so we simply don’t know what the risks and benefits are for all breeds.
On the flip side, of course, a female dog will go through at least 1-2 heat cycles if you wait until maturity for spay or neuter. Heat cycles last, on average, 3 weeks and can involve a small to moderate amount of bloody discharge throughout the cycle. Some females will also become moody, develop a poor appetite, or be more sensitive during their heat cycle. If you want to avoid your dog having a heat cycle, plan to spay her by ~6 months of age.
We spay and neuter many dogs at maturity. If you choose to go this route, plan on 1.5 to 2 years of age and, for female dogs, time the surgery for at least 6-8 weeks after a heat cycle.