February 28, 2024 Dogs Pets and Family

Happy Birthday, Leaplings! Celebrating Dogs Born on Leap Day

Oskar, a leap year dog, on a couch wearing a Happy Birthday crown

Happy Birthday, Leaplings! Celebrating Dogs Born on Leap Day

Leap Year rolls around every four years. For those born on February 29, they age (numerically) 75% slower than the rest of us because their birthday happens only every four years. The chances of having a “leapling” pet are about one in 1,461. Since the Schwarzman Animal Medical Center sees 50,000+ patient visits each year, I thought there must be some leapling patients in our system and, sure enough, when I queried our medical records, there were a number of them. To celebrate Leap Year 2024, here are their stories in order of their birth!


Orzo the black Pug is the oldest of our leaplings. Born in 2012, he will be 12 years old on his third birthday! Orzo is a patient of AMC thanks to his penchant for socks. This handsome Pug adores eating socks. In fact, he ate a neon pink one the first day he came home with his family. Later on, he ate two more socks. He vomited one up, but the other had to be removed by AMC’s board-certified surgeons. His owner reports Orzo’s AMC surgical experience didn’t cure his sock fetish, and he is still on the hunt for socks! For his birthday he will have a special apple, yogurt, and salmon cake, a lickmat of his favorite spreads, and he will wear the crown he wears every year.


Born on February 29, 2016, Oskar will be celebrating his second birthday this year. Being an English Bulldog, Oskar came to AMC because he needed a surgery to improve his abnormal breathing caused by brachycephalic airway syndrome, a common problem in “snub-nosed” dogs. Oskar celebrates his birthday with a special birthday hat family party featuring presents, a doggie cake, and Oskar wears his birthday hat. This year, if the weather is good, there will be a barbeque at the beach.


Gunner and Oskar share not only a birthday, but a love of the beach. For his birthday Gunner, is going to the beach and will have a hamburger with sweet potato kibble topped with whipped cream. Gunner came to AMC via our Emergency and Critical Care Service when his owner was concerned about bloat. Fortunately, it turned out that all was ok with Gunner’s stomach.


Winter, a cream-colored Standard Poodle, is the youngest of our leaplings. He participates in both the show ring and on the agility field. For the first three years of his life, his family celebrated his “almost birthday” by singing “Happy Almost Birthday to You.” His first birthday will be a special one since he is bringing treats to his agility classmates and, like Orzo, plans to wear a crown. Winter and Orzo also share something else. Winter’s introduction to AMC was for a sock removal surgery too!

Other Important Dog Birthdays

When I started investigating leapling pets, I thought I might find a few rescue pets with creative owners who chose February 29 as their shelter pet’s birthday to be unique. I was wrong. Each of the dogs profiled in this blogpost is a legitimate Leap Year Baby. I wonder if Dogust, or August 1, which has been designated the official birthday of all rescue dogs, has caught on. Mark your calendars for the next big canine birthday celebration of shelter dogs!

A Big Thank You to AMC’s Usdan Institute

This blogpost was made possible thanks to Michelle Leifer, Director of AMC’s Usdan Institute for Animal Health Education and the families of Orzo, Oskar, Gunner and Winter. Check out all of the Usdan Institute’s great work to provide the best pet health information for pet owners.

Tags: brachycephalic airway syndrome, emergency and critical care, foreign bodies, leap year, leaplings, pug, Surgery,

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