Most people believe that a dog goes through three or four distinct stages in their life. With the exception of some experts, the general idea is that dogs broadly have three phases in life but recently, this idea has been debunked. Canine care experts have categorized a dog’s life into six different and unique in their own way stages. Each of these stages requires a different level of care and attention. We have discussed these six stages, the care required during the respective stages, what to expect during each of these phases, and more in this article. In case, you are confused over which stage your dog currently is in and how to ensure maximum comfort for them, this detailed guide on the 6 stages of your dog’s life may come in handy.
So without further ado, here are the 6 stages of your pooch’s life:
Your furball is considered a puppy from the time they are born till the time they are able to reproduce. This differs from breed to breed. Notably, smaller breeds reach sexual maturity earlier than bigger breeds do.
Weaning is an essential part of this stage. This is when a puppy makes the shift to drinking their mother’s milk to eating other food items when they are about 3 to 4 weeks old. This shift should be complete and your puppy should be completely off their mother’s milk by the time they’re 5 to 7 weeks old. After this shift is successfully completed, puppies begin to feed about 4 to 5 times a day. This number decreases as your pup grows older. 2 to 3-month-old pups feed 4 times a day while 3 to 6 months old pups feed thrice a day. By the time they’re a year old, the feeding goes down to twice or once a day.
Another important consideration for puppies is dental care. Dogs tend to develop gum disease as early as 4 years of age if their dental health isn’t taken care of. This means that you should start brushing their teeth right from puppyhood. For this, you need a special doggie toothbrush or you can make one with a gauze wrapped around your fingers. Make a DIY toothpaste with baking soda and water or you can find one formulated for dogs.
You can also begin to house-train your puppy once they start the process of weaning. They may not be the quickest learners at this stage but if you train them properly, the chances of house accidents are radically lesser by the time they’re 5 to 6 weeks old.
In the case of vaccinations, dogs generally require some shots during their first year. It is best to consult your vet in such cases and have your dog vaccinated accordingly.
This is another crucial stage in your dog’s life that comes right after puppyhood. Once your dog hits puberty, that is, once they are able to reproduce, they are considered to be in the junior stage. Although they can reproduce now, they’re still growing at this point. Depending on what breed your dog is, this stage can fall anywhere between 6 to 12 months. Your dog may be more playful now and even tend to challenge your authority. This requires some disciplining but they are more manageable than puppies at this point. In case you still haven’t spayed or neutered them, the time is now!
Your dog is officially an adult once he surpasses the junior stage. At this point, they have stopped growing and look like fully mature dogs. Your dog should be fed only twice a day at this stage. This is a time when they’re physically at their peak so regular exercise is a no-brainer! This stage lasts from 1 to 7 years of your dog’s age.
Yes, as unbelievable as it sounds, your dog does go through middle age when the time comes. This stage is preceded by adulthood, ranging from 1 to 7 years of age. Just like human beings, your dog may begin to show some extra weight as their metabolism slows down at this point. This means that regular exercise is a must. You can also give your dog additional supplements during this stage to maintain their health. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are excellent supplements to deal with joint pain. Dogs also benefit greatly from probiotics for their digestive health. Fish oil and phytoplankton also act as great inflammatories for bone and joint health.
The fifth stage of your dog’s life is seniority. This is the last stage of your breed’s expectancy. At this point, your dog will sleep more and require less exercise. They still need to move regularly to prevent stiffness and discomfort. You should also take care of the dog’s joint support as this is the stage when conditions like arthritis sets in. You can consider buying a Tempurpedic bed as it will be more comfortable for your dog to sleep on.
This stage is officially the one when your dog has surpassed their breed’s expectancy. Not many dogs make it to this stage; primarily the smaller breeds live as long as this. At this stage, your dog requires a lot of TLC, supplements and pain medications, or a combination of both. You can give them softer food items as chewing becomes difficult for them. You can also exercise them at this stage but make sure you don’t over-tire your dog.
No matter what stage of life your dog is in, it is natural that you want to provide them with the best kind of care possible. While each stage comes with its own set of requirements, it is lovely to see your pup develop from a small baby to a mature, fully-grown dog. All you need to do is follow some basic specifications and your dog will enjoy a long and healthy life.
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