Dog Blog #11 Rain, Rain, Rain…

I have literally just got back inside from walking Margot and the heavens have opened – again. Hearing myself say out loud that I am ‘glad we are not out in that’, as the wind gusts across the back garden, I look down to see that our pup has crashed out. I guess a bout of exercise and a full stomach have resulted in another favourite pastime. I’d love to be able to ask her to rank them in order. This week we have had to dodge the showers as the rain falls in swathes across the country and it has been harder to just hang out in the garden throughout the day for some fresh air. Already I am looking forward to the spring and longer daylight hours. January is not my favourite month.

Five-month check up

Last month we had an appointment with the veterinary nurse to check Margot’s weight. As she was just below 10kg, we were advised to come back in four weeks to keep the monitoring up, particularly as the monthly flea treatment changes once she has passed the 10kg threshold. We were delighted to see Alice again, the nurse we saw first all those weeks ago. She seemed just as pleased to see Margot and made that obligatory comment about how much she had grown. Our pup did not let us down and sat beautifully on the weighing scales. With her now weighing in at 11.7kg, we did indeed need to change the flea and worm treatment, which was very straightforward. (I’m so impressed with Lynwood vets every time we step inside the building.)

P asked Alice if Margot was overweight, as overfeeding her is something we remain paranoid about. It’s a minefield trying to navigate the portion guidelines on the bags of puppy food and we are continually using treats in our training – but more about food a bit later. I am pleased to say that according to the posters in the consulting room, and reaffirmed by Alice, Margot is well within the normal category in terms of her weight so all those training treats aren’t causing a problem.

The day after our vet visit (and once our friends had left the house after our lunch date) we separated the fur on the top of her back and squeezed out the liquid medication to keep the fleas and worms at bay. It has a horrible smell and always causes Margot to writhe a little on her back a few hours afterwards. The alternative of a possible parasite invasion is not an option though and it’s only once a month. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable for her.

Food Switch

In a previous post I mentioned the problems we were having with some of the batches of the More+ puppy food. Pets Corner had been brilliant in swapping the paint-smelling bags for alternatives and I had been hopeful that we were past the worst. However, when I opened one of the small bags last week, the same foul aroma filtered out once again. At this point we decided that we had had enough and would investigate a different dry kibble for Margot. I remembered that my brother had recommended AVA puppy food. They sell it at Pets at Home, which meant that Pets Corner would lose our custom. (I did feel a bit bad about that after their wonderful customer service, but needs must.)

Having checked with the veterinary nurse and asked the oracle for advice, it is clear that you must gradually introduce a dog to their new food. If done in one go, it will interfere with their digestive system and probably give them diarrhoea. Again it depends on which advice you follow, but some recommend a teaspoon of the new food at first and building up the amount slowly over two weeks. Another suggested mixing in 25% of the new food for the first few days and monitoring the toilet situation. (I’ve never been so interested in poo before!) Alice said something in the middle and that it could be done over a week so we started off with 5g and have been adding a further 5g each day – and obvioulsy lessening the More+ puppy food at the same time. The balance is important for quite a few reasons, not least that we don’t want to run out of the old food before fully establishing the new.

This is what happened when someone left the downstairs toilet door open whilst we were eating breakfast. Memories of those Andrex puppy advertisements spring to mind. We did hear some slightly odd noises through the door but thought nothing of it. P now checks carefully that the door is closed every morning.

Teething / Chewing

Margot remains keen to chew on lots of different textures as expected. Recently, I have noticed that her teeth look as though they have changed. Every time I can see her chewing on something, I try to take a closer look at her jaws.

According to this Pets at Home article, ‘As your puppy grows, his or her jaw grows, too. This causes the milk teeth to fall out and the adult teeth to grow behind them shortly after. This process usually begins when your puppy is three to four months old when the incisors begin to fall out. The canines usually fall out by four to six months of age and the premolars fall out when your pup is four to seven months old.

Some extra premolars and molars will also appear by five to seven months of age, leaving your pup with a grand total of 42 adult teeth by the time they are six to eight months old.’

If this information is correct, Margot should have quite a few of her adult teeth already. We have seen evidence of tiny blood spots on some of her toys and the puppy bone she gnaws frantically on. There’s also that obvious incessant chewing, but she has always done that so it’s nothing new. Others have warned us that puppy teeth are a bit like Lego bricks if you step on one that has fallen out, but so far we have all avoided that too. I’d love to know what her current adult tooth count is – and I even googled some images of puppy vs adult teeth to see if that might help me in my detective work. Sadly, I’m still stumped.

Got to love that Amazon packaging – now with so many more uses. Hiding bits of food inside is our favourite…

Still chewing up the garden too – see below! (I would have thought that the thorns would have been been a good defence for my roses, but apparently not. I hope the flowers will bloom when the spring finally does arrive.) And with all the rain, our grass has certainly seen better days.

To be honest, I am so over all of this rain – Margot and I just got caught in a shower on another morning jaunt / training walk. Surprisingly, she was her best behaved in terms of staying close to my heel when the wind picked up and the rain poured down. And she looks rather sweet and fluffy when her fur is damp. It’s like her doodly bits come to life…

Margot says…

‘I love rooting around in my toy box and picking out things to play with and chew. That yellow and blue thing is quite heavy but I can just about get my jaws around it to pick it up and it makes a satisfying noise when I push it around on the slippery floor.

I don’t mind getting a bit wet when I go outside as I can have a really good shake which is so satisfying.’

Margot asleep

I think her favourite place to have a nap is still in the kitchen in front of the radiator. It is clear that Margot still loves her original Foxy cuddly toy. Sadly, one of its arms has been chewed off, yet she will continue to cosy up to it in her room. For some reason she has taken an aversion to the blanket we put on the top of her crate for warmth and has this last week been pulling it off. We have moved it upstairs for the moment to avoid a battle. However, you can see her curled up on it in the third picture. One of our questions at the moment is does she actually sleep in her crate at night? Maybe it was too claustrophobic in there with the blanket on the top?

And finally…

Just another excuse to add in a few more photos. You can see in the second picture that our pup has a new collar. Forgive me for giving in to stereotyping, but after the many comments referring to Margot as a boy with her blue collar, I gave in and went for a pink one. I did think it looked redder than that in the picture on the internet, but the contrast with the colour of her fur is lovely. (Emphasised by the adjoining picture where she is camouflaged by the underside of the mattress having turned it over!)

Next week… another session with our trainer Fleur adding recall to name to our armoury, and hopefully an improvement in the weather so that we can return to the outdoors more readily.

Please feel free to comment, share and spread the word.

2 responses to “Dog Blog #11 Rain, Rain, Rain…”

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