Adult Care Guide

Your furry friend might always be a puppy in your eyes, but it’s important to understand how his nutritional, emotional, and physical needs change as he matures. Though breed and size can impact the transition into adulthood, puppies officially become adults when they stop growing, usually between one and two years of age. Here’s what you need to know about this stage.

Adult Routine Care

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends bringing your adult dog to the veterinarian at least once a year for a general wellness checkup. This yearly physical may also include important preventative measures like checking for heartworms and updating vaccinations.

Dental hygiene is an important topic to discuss with your veterinarian around this stage. By the age of three, many dogs already show signs of gum disease—or periodontal disease—which can cause bad breath, tooth loss, and, in more serious cases, organ damage. As a preventative measure, brush your dog’s teeth daily in between dental cleanings. And, if cost is a concern, CareCredit can help you finance everything from dental cleanings to more serious oral health procedures.

Adult Nutrition

The nutritional needs of a dog that’s reached full physical maturity are different than those of a puppy. Switching to adult food will ensure that your pal gets the proper nutrients and calories, as well as help prevent obesity and orthopedic problems. Ask your veterinarian about how and when to incrementally add more adult food to his bowl while reducing the amount of puppy formula. As you make this transition, keep an eye on your dog’s weight and coat texture to ensure that the new food is working for him.

Adult Socialization and Exercise

As your dog matures, you may notice a change in his energy level and playfulness. This change may be normal—you might even appreciate the mellowing out—but it also means you may have to do a bit more encouraging to get him moving and grooving. If you continue to see changes in behavior, mention it to your veterinarian at your next visit.

According to Manny the Frenchie’s parents, Manny has never been a big fan of exercise. “He does love to play with his siblings, though,” they say, “so we encourage frequent romping sessions at home.”

If your dog doesn’t have a brother or sister to chase around the house, daily walks and visits to the dog park are also reliable go-tos.

Choose your dog’s life stage

WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

This content is subject to change without notice and offered for informational use only. You are urged to consult with your medical provider with respect to any information presented. Synchrony and any of its affiliates, including CareCredit, (collectively, “Synchrony”) makes no representations or warranties regarding this content and accept no liability for any loss or harm arising from the use of the information provided. All statements and opinions are the sole opinions of WebMD. Your receipt of this material constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.