Telling the exact age of your adopted dogs is not always easy. However, this is among the most important things to do when keeping a dog as a pet, since there are some benefits you, as a dog owner, can get by determining your dog’s approximate age. By knowing their right age, you will be able to:
- Determine the dog’s meal menu and snacks. Knowing your dog’s approximate age is essential before you choose what foods to give. If you are giving dry commercial foods, there will be some nutritional differences between the puppy and adult dog foods. Puppies might also unable to proceed foods intended for adult dogs.
- Give properly required vaccination. Some vaccination intended for dogs should be given when canines are in puppy stage, while some others might require a certain phase of age to avoid negative side effects.
- Determine proper dosage of medications or required supplements. Knowing your adopted dog is still a puppy will be helpful in determining medication dosage when needed. You can also choose less harsh medications intended for puppies.
- Determine the proper mating time. It is required for female dogs to be physically matured before mating since it is required for a healthy pregnancy. Hence, it is important to define a dog’s age before mating season.
What can be used to determine your dog’s age?
Seeing some signs and changes in your dog will enable you to define whether or not it is still a puppy. Some factors which are helpful to be used for determining a dog’s age span include:
- Physical appearance
You can observe your dog’s physical appearance to define its age. Pay attention to the teeth, the fur, and other physical signs your dog’s body might tell you.
- Behavior and habits
Puppies are quite different from adult dogs in the way they behave. Some habits and behavioral changes might tell you how old your dog is about.
How to tell if your dog is still a puppy?
Puppies are usually full grown when reaching the age of 12 to 16 months, although this may vary according to the breeds and size. Some guidance can show you whether or not your dog is still a puppy.
- Pay attention to the weight. A dog will reach its full weight at the age of 12 months—although large breed dogs may need some more months. By the age of four months, its weight usually reaches a half of the breed’s maximum weight, while by the age of seven months, most dogs have reached their 90 percent of maximum breed weight.
- Pay attention to the teeth. A puppy will have sharp yet clean teeth. Before the age of two years, it is common for puppies to have the teeth without any tooth wear—tartar and plaque build-ups. However, this build-up will be noticeable when the puppy reaches the age of two years. Older dogs also have got reddened gums compared to puppies.
- Look at their energy. Puppies are extremely energetic when compared to full-grown dogs. Therefore, you will notice full jumps and excitement when they greet you after a period of absence. This big energy also causes puppies to demand attention from the owner. Hence, it is normal for you who keep a puppy to notice that the puppy will restlessly invite you to play by biting your toes or jumping toward you.
- Look at their curiosity. Puppies are curious, and when uncontrolled, this curiosity might bring a disaster to the house in the forms of chewed slippers, broken wooden chair feet, or tore carpet. While adult dogs are less interested in chewing all things around the house, puppies tend to do it every time.
- Listen to the sound of its bark. A dog’s bark tells various things, including their age. Puppy barks tend to be in high pitch, while adult barks tend to be lower in pitch, yet heavily echoing. Puppies also tend to bark more than adult dogs, who barks only to tell you something essential. A puppy also commonly barks when seeing something strange they find around the house, such as small animals or moving objects.