Is your puppy becoming an adult dog? It may be hard to tell. If youve had them since they were a young puppy, youll remember the many changes they experienced: their teeth coming in, learning to play fetch, potty training and socializing.
But the older your pooch gets, the smaller and more subtle their developmental growth becomes. Its important for you, as the pet parent, to understand the changes occurring at every stage of puppy development so that you can keep up with their changing needs as they grow into an adult dog.
When Does a Puppy Become an Adult Dog?
Your puppy wont reach maturity all at once. Like humans, dogs transition from baby to adult in stages, though the transition happens much more quickly for dogs. Heres what to look for as your puppy matures:
Sexual Maturity: Most dogs become sexually mature by 6 months when theyre still in the puppy stage of development both physically and emotionally. At this point, your pups sex organs are fully developed, making them capable of reproducing. Spaying or neutering your dog is recommended in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies and adverse behaviors, such as roaming or marking. While the traditional age for spaying or neutering is 6 to 9 months old, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) explains that healthy puppies as young as 8 weeks old can be eligible. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best age for your pups unique needs.
Physical Maturity: Physically speaking, dogs are fully grown by the time theyre 1 year old, although large breeds may keep growing until theyre 2 years old. When your pup reaches physical maturity, they may still engage in puppy-like behaviors but their physical needs, including the number of calories they need to consume and how much exercise they require to stay healthy, become that of an adult dog.
Emotional Maturity: Youll know your dog has reached emotional maturity when they stop acting like a puppy or an adolescent and fully settle into the role of an adult dog. Typically, emotionally mature adults are less distractible, better at listening and obeying and have a calmer and more settled demeanor. The precise timing of this milestone differs, but most dogs reach emotional maturity by their second birthday.
In puppy development, the time between reaching sexual maturity and emotional maturity is akin to human adolescence. This can be a challenging stage — at times your pups behavior might remind you of that of a rebellious teenager. While not all adolescent puppies exhibit behavior problems, it is extremely common. Its important to be patient, but firm and consistent when establishing boundaries and expectations for behavior.
Is a 1 year old dog still a puppy?Although all puppies are officially considered adult dogs once they reach one year old, puppies continue to grow in height and size while their bones are still developing, which takes anywhere from 6 to 24 months.
Pembroke welsh corgi.
Staffordshire bull terrier.
The Truth About Dog Years (Your Pupper Is Older Than You Think!)