You probably know how old your dog is, but do you know if it has become an adult yet? Most people don’t, so if you’re wondering how to know if your dog is no longer a puppy, then you’ve come to the right place!
Everyone loves puppies, but unfortunately, they don’t stay that way forever.
In larger breeds, puppies tend to make their transition to adults after 15 months, while in smaller breeds, they’re considered to be adults after their 9th month.
Besides the obvious appearance, your dog might present some different behaviors that could tell you that he’s not a puppy anymore.
Keep reading so you can check out these seven signs your puppy has grown and what changes you should make as an adult dog owner.
1. Their puppy teeth are gone
Dental care is very important in adult dogs, so it’s crucial that you know when it’s time to visit the dentist with your pet.
Puppy teething usually doesn’t last for more than six months, which means after this mark, you must start to pay extra attention to their dental health and also make an effort to get high-quality dog food that won’t mess up their teeth too bad.
As an adult dog owner, you should brush your dog’s teeth at least three times per week, it’s important you get your dog used to it, which means you have to set a routine.
In the beginning, it might be hard, but most dogs get over it. If you truly feel like your dog hates that you brush their teeth, then don’t force them.
Simply get those dog treats that are meant to help with dental hygiene by reducing plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth and ask your vet for additional help.
2. They’re not making a mess anymore
One good aspect of your puppy turning into an adult is that you won’t have ruined slippers anymore. Well, probably you’ll be cursed forever with chewed slippers and shoes every now and then, but studies show that puppies tend to destroy a lot more than adult dogs.
This happens because their need and curiosity to discover new things also diminishes.
If your puppy was always ruining your stuff, once they become an adult, you must teach them the difference between what’s right and wrong to do. As adults, their intelligence and awareness increase, which means they can learn better and faster.
3. They have less appetite
When it comes to food, puppies are known to have a larger appetite than adult dogs.
This happens because their caloric needs are extremely different.
That’s why puppy food is different from mature dog food. When a puppy is growing, they need food with more nutrients and protein to support their growth. Once your dog reaches the adult dog age, they should switch to normal dog food to maintain their body weight.
4. You notice they’re getting more mature
Some dogs reach their full maturity around their ninth month, while other bigger breeds, like great Danes, might not reach it before two years.
It depends on the breed size and of course their personality, but some signs you can look out for, is if they’re lifting their leg to pee, or they suddenly become interested in other female dogs in heat.
When a female puppy becomes an adult, you might notice they become more anxious, their appetite feels different, and of course, they have their menstrual cycle.
When this time comes, you can decide if you want your dogs to procreate or not. In any case, you should always speak about your decision to the vet to get the best counseling.
5. They have fewer or no accidents
Here’s some good news! Puppies are known to have a lot of accidents around the house. This happens because they’re babies, they can’t hold their feces or urine and end up doing it wherever.
However, once your dog gets into his adult stage, you might notice this not happening as frequently, or even not happening at all.
On top of that, they only need to go outside twice a day, while puppies need to “use the bathroom” at least five times per day.
Even though these “accidents” are meant to stop, it’s always a good idea to teach them to go to the bathroom when they’re little; you can award them with puppy treats every time they successfully pee outside so they can learn to do that in the future.
6. They behave like a teenager, not a child
Just like with humans who tend to become more rebellious when they reach adolescence, dogs start to act more freely and become way more aware of their surroundings. At such age, they’re more curious and are not afraid to investigate things on their own.
While this is a healthy dog behavior, it can also lead to some bad ones, such as aggression.
This is why it’s always important that you maintain your authority while also being your dog’s best friend and parent.
7. They need to be groomed more often
In case you didn’t know, your puppy’s fur, which is known as a “puppy coat” is not the same as an adult coat.
Normally, puppy coats are way shorter, which means they’re easier to manage. But once your dog reaches their six months of age, you’ll notice that their fur is falling out, once this happens, you already know that they’re beginning to develop adult dog fur, which usually occurs in the next six months as well.
This transition phase will always be hard to deal with because you’ll find fur everywhere around your house, and of course, you will never own a piece of clothing without dog hair in it.
But don’t get it wrong, once the transition stops, you still have to deal with their new coat. Depending on the breed, their fur might require special products or frequent grooming.
We advise you to figure out what type of fur they will have in the future based on their breed and prepare yourself by buying the correct products to take care of them once they have their new adult coat.
Ultimately, a dog should be a man’s best friend. The best way to be just that with your dog is by providing them with good food, health care, and of course, a lot of love and attention!
Remember, if you have any doubts about your dog, there are a lot of dog forums out there where you can get your answers, or you can also call your vet and ask for their opinion.