Throughout life, a dog goes through different stages of development, which are characterized by physical and behavioral changes. And each stage of development, each stage of maturation requires changing and adapting the dog’s diet in accordance with the age, breed, level of physical activity, living conditions of the dog, and even whether the dog has been spayed or not.
You will experience many pleasant moments together, including, for example, the first walk in a nearby park. And let’s be honest, you’re also going to run into some annoying trouble when your puppy chews on your favorite shoes. However, both the good times and the bad times will help build a strong and close relationship with your dog.
Perhaps one of the most important periods in a dog’s life will be the transition from puppyhood to adulthood. Knowing about the physical changes that await the dog during this period of life, you can timely change the pet’s diet and provide him with proper care, which will help him easily overcome this difficult stage of development.
From Puppy to Adult Dog: What to Expect
The juvenile period begins at 12-16 weeks of a dog’s life and lasts until it grows up. At this time, your pet will learn to fully control its senses (tactile and taste sensations, hearing, smell and vision). By the age of 7 months, his milk teeth in most cases will be completely replaced by permanent ones. You will also notice that his behavior will sometimes be similar to that of a teenager – he will test the strength of you and those around him, including other dogs, and may completely forget about all the good manners that his mother, brothers and sisters instilled in him from 3 to 12 weeks of life. And you.
When does my puppy grow to the size of an adult dog?
There are no hard and fast rules about when a dog reaches its adult size. In general, the end of the growth period depends largely on the breed. According to these standards, dogs of small breeds reach adult size by 1 year (miniature breeds even a little earlier). Dogs of medium and large breeds reach adult body size between 1 and 1. 5 years. And dogs of large breeds can grow up to 2 years. The growth rate of a dog also depends on the size and breed. For example, small dogs will reach half their adult size by 4 months, and by 6 months they will be ¾ of their full height. By comparison, large breed dogs will reach half their adult weight by 5 months and ¾ by 9 months. In these first phases of growing up puppies, all of them, regardless of breed, grow very actively. Therefore, do not forget that the puppy’s diet during this period should contain enough calories to support active growth and development. During the period of socialization, starting from the 6th month of life, the growth rate will slow down – this is especially true for dogs of large breeds.
Also, it’s better for a puppy to grow at a healthy pace rather than at top speed: in other words, fast growth isn’t always the right thing to do. If the puppy grows too fast, then there may be problems with the skeletal system or excess weight, which also leads to complications. It is very important that puppies receive a complete and balanced diet during the growth period. It will provide them with all the necessary nutrients in the quantities needed for healthy growth.
To learn more about puppy growth and development, watch the video How to Use the WALTHAM™ Puppy Growth Charts?
How do I know if my dog is already an adult?
It is important to distinguish between the growth period of the dog and the period when the dog is already considered an adult. Usually, dogs are considered adults when they have reached sexual and behavioral maturity.
Females of dogs reach puberty between 6 and 15 months, in male this happens between 8 and 10 months of life. Despite the fact that your dog can show interest in the opposite sex, it cannot be considered sexually mature up to 10 months, since it is still growing and developing. Remember that sterilization can be carried out both before and after reaching puberty. It is better to discuss possible options in advance with the attending veterinarian to make a balanced and correct decision for the pet. Even when he reaches puberty, his behavior can still remain at the teenage level. The best way to find out whether your pet has reached the stage of growing up is to observe changes in his behavior in contact with other adult dogs.
A diet for a puppy: how often, how much to feed and what to include in the diet?
The food needs of the puppy are very different from the needs of an adult dog. Since the puppies grow rapidly, they need nutrition, which will provide them with a sufficient amount of energy. Exact numbers depend on the dog’s breed, but on average, a puppy, excreted from the mother, from 8 weeks of life, will take twice as much calories per kilogram of weight than for an adult dog.
During this period, a 2-month puppy still has a fairly small stomach, and he will need 4–5 meals a day so that he feels full and does not overeat. By 10 weeks, growth rates slow down, and the puppy can be fed 3 times a day, and by 6 months – 2 times a day. When the dog becomes an adult, try to maintain this feeding frequency, correcting, if necessary, only a portion of feed.
Puppies not only need to eat more often than adult dogs, but also receive a diet that meets their needs during this period of development. Puppies need much more proteins and fats along with a balanced content of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins D and A, as well as calcium and phosphorus for healthy bone and teeth growth. Unlike adult dogs, omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenic acid and non-oxacenoic acid) are needed for healthy development. Therefore, it is extremely important that, after excommunication from the mother, the puppy receives special food for up to the moment of growing up.
The transition from puppy food to a diet for an adult dog.
In the event of growing up, which, as we already know, occurs between the ages of 1 year to 3 years, depending on the breed of the dog, it is important that the diet is adapted to the changed rate of growth and possible changes in behavior. Even if an adult dog remains playful until old age, it still becomes more calm over the years – this is absolutely natural even for the most energetic and mobile dogs.
Changes in the diet are especially important if your dog is sterilized. After this procedure, metabolism slows down and appetite increases. Therefore, the dog can become less active physically, and begin to gain weight. First of all, you should be attentive to the weight of the pet and the number of calories received with each feeding. A possible option is to transfer the dog to a special diet for sterilized animals or to a lightweight diet is less high-calorie, but balanced in all necessary nutrients. We recommend that you follow the weight of the pet after sterilization and regularly seek a veterinarian for advice. This is especially important for already sterilized, but not yet gaining adult weight of the body of dogs. A veterinarian will help to choose the right diet depending on the development period and the substances necessary for the dog after sterilization.
We support an adult dog in good shape
If the dog becomes more calm with age, it is very important to maintain and stimulate its activity in all possible ways. It can be frequent walks or extra time allotted to games with a pet that will simultaneously help to get closer to the dog and avoid weight gain. Do not forget that you help the dog stay in the form of her health, and not for a good appearance: excess weight can cause complications such as reducing motor activity and even a decrease in life expectancy.
Tips for transferring from puppy food to an adult diet.
In order to avoid digestive disorder, translation from one feed to another must be carried out gradually. In 5-8 days, gradually replace puppy food with an adult. Every two days, increase the fraction of the diet for an adult dog, and by the 8th day your pet will successfully complete the complete transition to a new food. The best time for teaching to new tastes of food and food is a puppy age, but if this has not yet been done, you can start introducing a dog to new tastes now, of course, gradually. So that with age, the dog does not become too picky in nutrition, try to introduce new tastes and textures in the form of a dry and humid diet.
We learn the information received
The selection of a diet for a pet at different stages of his life may seem a difficult task, but there are many resources for dog lovers where you can easily find a lot of information. Use only tips confirmed by veterinarians from reliable sources. Know when you need to change the diet and seek advice and recommendations in time as important as the change in the diet itself.
Be attentive to your pet, take his physical and behavioral changes, provide everything necessary for health at every stage of life.
- From Puppy to Adult Dog: What to Expect
- When does my puppy grow to the size of an adult dog?
- How do I know if my dog is already an adult?
- A diet for a puppy: how often, how much to feed and what to include in the diet?
- The transition from puppy food to a diet for an adult dog.
- We support an adult dog in good shape
- Tips for transferring from puppy food to an adult diet.
- We learn the information received