When is a Dog Considered an Adult?

when is a dog considered an adult

First Things First

Dogs are one of the most popular pets worldwide, and they have been our loyal companions for thousands of years. We all love and adore our furry friends, both small, large and giant breeds but when it comes to their growth and development, how do you know when is a dog considered an adult? In this blog post, we will go over the various factors that determine when a dog is classified as an adult and what you should expect during this crucial phase of a dog’s life.

It Varies

The age that a dog is considered an adult varies depending on the breed, size, and weight of the dog. However, in general, dogs are considered adults when they reach 12 months old. Smaller breed dogs, such as Chihuahuas, typically reach their adult size by 9-10 months of age, while larger breeds like Great Danes may not reach their full size until after two years of age. The age at which a grown dog is considered an adult also depends on their developmental stage, their rate of maturation, and sex.

Adult Dogs Phases

During the adult phase of a dog’s life, they will exhibit various physical and behavioral changes. Physically, dogs will stop growing, and their skeletal system will stop developing. Their coat will become denser and thicker and will require more grooming than before. Their energy levels may decrease slightly, and they may become more independent and less reliant on their owners.

Adult Shepard and Puppy


Behaviorally, dogs may become more calm and relaxed as they get older. They may experience less of the impulsive and destructive behavior and puppy energy. However, some dogs may experience increased aggression and dominance as they age, especially if they have not been adequately socialized. It’s important to continue training your dog throughout their life to prevent any adverse behavior from developing.

Bittersweet Isn’t It?

As your dog reaches adulthood, there are some important factors to keep in mind to ensure their ongoing health and wellbeing. Regular exercise remains essential, and you may also want to adjust their diet to reflect their physical maturity and their changing needs. Adult dogs require a high-quality diet that provides the appropriate balance of nutrients to maintain their muscle mass and energy levels. You should also schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog is in good health.

Puppy Behavior vs. Adult Dog Behavior: How to Know When Your Puppy is No Longer a Puppy

Mom and her puppy

Bringing a new dog into your life is a big decision, whether it be a puppy or an adult dog. Puppies are adorable, playful, and can bring a unique and joyous energy into your home. However, with that energy comes a lot of responsibility and training.

On the other hand, adult dogs can offer their own unique personality, already trained, and ready to be a companion. But are there differences in behavior between puppies and adult dogs? Below, we will delve into the differences in behavior between puppies and adult dogs, and how to approach training to meet those differences.

Energy Level

One of the most obvious differences between puppies and adult dogs is energy level. Puppies and younger dogs tend to to have a lot more energy and require more exercise, playtime, and mental stimulation. As a result, puppies require more supervision and attention. Adult dogs, on the other hand, tend to be calmer and more willing to relax with their owners. While they still require exercise and mental stimulation, they are less likely to become bored and destructive if left alone for a short period of time.


Another significant difference between puppies and adult dogs is their level of training. While puppies are eager to please and open to learning new commands, it takes time and patience to train them properly. Adult dogs, on the other hand, usually come with preexisting training and may require less intensive training. However, this is not always the case, and adult dogs may require some unlearning of bad habits before starting new training sessions.


Puppies require socialization to develop into well-rounded, confident dogs. They need lots of positive experiences with people, other dogs including female dogs and male dogs, and new surroundings to develop into confident, well-adjusted adult dogs. Adult dogs may have already undergone socialization but may take some time to get used to new environments or people. Adult dogs who have not been socialized may have negative behavioral tendencies that can be difficult to correct.


Puppy behavior tends to be curious and playful. Sometimes, their curiosity can get them into trouble, and they may bite or chew on things they shouldn’t. Adult dogs tend to be calmer and more predictable in their behavior and emotional maturity. They are less likely to engage in chewing and biting behavior and are more content with relaxing with their owners.

Two dogs socializing


As with any living creature, dogs grow and age. Puppies need proper nutrition and medical attention to grow properly and develop a strong immune system. Adult dogs, on the other hand, require preventative care to manage any age-related health issues. Regular vet visits, eye, and dental care are essential for older dogs to be healthy dogs.

Understanding the differences between puppy behavior and adult dog behavior is important in making the best decision for your lifestyle and expectations. Regardless of whether you choose to bring a puppy or an adult dog into your home, it’s essential to give them proper attention, training, playtime, and preventative medical care. With love, attention, and consistency, puppies and adult dogs can both make wonderful additions to any family.

A Guide on How to Switch from Puppy Dog Food to Adult Dog Food

Pug holding treat

As a responsible dog owner, it is important to know when it is time to switch your furry friend’s diet from puppy food to adult food. It is a crucial decision that will affect your dog’s health and well-being in the long term. Switching to adult dog food takes careful consideration and planning. Next, we will guide you through the steps on how to switch from puppy dog food to adult dog food, ensuring that your dog receives the right nutrition he needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Gradual Transition

The first step to switching your dog from puppy food to adult food is to do it gradually. Sudden changes in your dog’s diet can cause stomach upsets and digestive issues. Start by mixing small amounts of adult dog food with your puppy’s food, gradually increasing the ratio of adult food and decreasing the amount of puppy food over a week or two. This will allow your dog’s digestive system to adjust to the new diet slowly.

Choose the Right Adult Food

Puppy food provides young dogs with the right nutrients and calories for growth, but adult food is formulated to maintain adult dogs health and well-being. Look for high-quality adult food that suits your dog’s breed, age, and activity level. Make sure the adult food you choose has the proper balance of nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, and fats, to meet your dog’s nutritional needs. Check out this dog food that we trust and love!

Check the Label

Always read the label when choosing adult dog food. The ingredients on the label will dictate the nutritional value and quality of the food. Look for whole-food ingredients like meat, fish, and vegetables. Avoid ingredients like fillers, by-products, and artificial preservatives. Choosing high-quality dog food will not only help maintain your dog’s health but also prevent digestive issues that often occurs in most dogs when switching to new food.

Monitor Your Dog

As you switch your dog to adult food, carefully monitor your furry friend’s behavior and health. Observe for any unusual changes or bowel movements that may indicate a problem. If you notice any problems, slow down the transition or consult your vet.

Stick to Your Feeding Plan

Lastly, be consistent in your feeding schedule. Establish and maintain a routine that works for you and your dog. This will help your dog maintain a healthy appetite, prevent overeating, excessive weight gain, or health problems, and make training easier.

Switching your puppy to adult dog food can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Gradual transition with the right adult food, careful monitoring, and consistency in feeding can make the switch smooth and easy. Remember that every dog is unique, and what works best for one may not always work for another. It is always best to consult your vet before finalizing the switch. By providing your furry friend with good nutrition and a balanced diet, you can ensure your dog is healthy and happy in the long term.

In Summary

Stuffed animal dressed as human

The age that a dog is considered an adult depends on a variety of factors such as breed, size, and weight. However, in general, dogs are considered adults when they reach 12 months old. During this phase of their life, dogs will undergo both physical and behavioral changes, and it’s essential to monitor their health to ensure they are thriving. With the right care and attention, your dog will be a loyal and beloved companion for years to come.

If your puppy still needs some behavioral help when graduating from a pup to an adult dog, Ruff House Dog Training can make the transition as easy as possible for you and your furry friend.

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