How will I know when my puppy reaches maturity?

They can’t stay little forever (even though we might want them to)!

For some the puppy phase is the best; your furry pal is super cute, excited about everything and just generally inquisitive about the world around them.

However, other owners might be happier to know when their dog starts to reach maturity, as it may signal the end of some of those annoying or frustrating puppy habits! 

In this article, we’re exploring some of the common signs you can look out for to suggest that you’ve no longer got a puppy, you got (an almost) grown up dog around the house.

It’s important to note that your dog won’t become an adult overnight! Like with humans, there is very much an adolescent stage, throughout which your dog will go through various emotional, physical and sexual phases of maturity, but there are still some key signs that the puppy phase is more firmly behind you. 

Signs that your puppy is growing up

There are a few things your dog may stop, or start to do when they mature, these include: 

  • Your dog will start to lose, or have lost its puppy teeth
  • The destruction phase will slow down (there are things that may cause your dog to attack your sofa or furniture, but generally speaking healthy pups grow out of most of this destructive behaviour)
  • They may be less bouncy, distracted and more responsive to commands
  • Your dog may eat a bit less, or with less fuss and mess! 
  • Their social interactions with other dogs will be more advanced, they’ll pay attention to social cues and other dogs may ‘baby’ them less.

What do I need to do to support my growing dog?

Much like with us, certain elements of our dogs’ lives change and adapt as they grow. As a dog owner, you need to ensure your dog’s mental and physical health needs are met as they get older.

A maturing dog will need to change foods, at the right time. If you are starting to notice changes in your dog, then it might be time to review the type and amount of feed you are giving your dog - if you are unsure, speak to your vet. 

Other needs may change too. If your dog is losing teeth it may chew on more things as they grow out. You might occasionally find a lost tooth, but it’s more likely your dog will accidentally swallow them while playing or eating - this is normal, so don’t worry. 

Sexually maturity is an important milestone for growing dogs, but reaching this does not mean your pet is fully grown; some dogs are sexually mature at six months, but will very much be puppies at heart.

We will look at when to consider neutering and spaying in another post as it deserves its own focus - we know anything involving operating on your little pal is a worrying time, so we’ll look at when and things to know/think about, too.

Ultimately - it’s clear there is a lot to consider and watch for as your dog grows, but it’s important to remember this is not a timetable and your dog will develop at its own unique pace.

You know your four-legged friend best — so keep playing with them and paying attention and you’ll see these changes and milestones in due course. 

If you need more help or advice, don’t forget here’s absolutely loads of resources and info in Puppy Club for you to enjoy!