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The first year of a puppy’s life is really important when it comes to building firm foundations that will stand your dog in stead for the rest of their life, and this is a very busy time as your puppy grows and develops into an adult dog, and starts to learn about the world around them.
However, when your pup reaches their first birthday they are officially classed as an adult in dog terms, and this is the first of many stages in your dog’s life when you will need to make some adjustments and review things to keep up with your dog’s development.
In this article, we will look at some of the things that will change and that you will need to do, as your pup approaches their first birthday, and what to expect at this time. Read on to learn more.
First of all, it is important to understand that different dogs grow and develop at different rates, and while one year old is accepted as “adult” across the board, many dogs-particularly from large or giant breeds such as the St. Bernard - will continue to develop physically for much longer, often to the age of two or even three.
This means that you should continue to bear this in mind when it comes to your dog’s care, exercise and general lifestyle, to ensure that you do not inadvertently do something that will stress or damage their growing joints and bones.
Your dog should be booked in for their second vaccinations a few weeks after their first birthday, assuming that they received their puppy vaccinations while they were young.
This is an essential appointment that not only allows your dog to be vaccinated, but also to allow your vet to check your dog out, make sure that they are developing properly, and to allow you to bring up any issues or questions that you may have going forwards.
Up until their first birthday, the most appropriate diet for a youngster is a puppy food that is a good match for their size, breed and activity levels, but when your dog reaches one year of age, it is time to think about moving them on to adult food.
Selecting the right adult food for your dog is something that you should consider carefully, and don’t make a sudden change to a new diet-phase it in gradually over the course of a few weeks, to allow your dog to get used to it.
You should also weigh your dog at this time (your vet will be able to do this during your vaccination appointment) and continue to weigh your dog regularly so that you can establish the right diet and amount of food that they need, and get an idea of their baseline healthy adult weight.
If you are not sure which food to pick or you have any specific queries about your dog’s diet, again, talk to your vet for advice.
By the time a dog reaches their first birthday, they should already be house trained, obedient and able to follow basic commands, as well as being well socialised with other dogs.
If there is anything not quite right or that your dog has not mastered, now is the time to get to work in earnest, to prevent a small puppy problem becoming a lifelong issue and so, much harder to resolve!
It is also important to think about how your dog’s interactions with others are likely to change when they start approaching adulthood-when it comes to socialising with others, adult dogs give pups and juveniles a lot of leeway when it comes to manners and social behaviour.
This helps them to learn-but when your pup reaches adulthood, they may begin to learn some hard lessons from other dogs that now see your pup as a grown up, and may not tolerate some of their misbehaviour or nonsense!
This is a natural, normal part of healthy growth and learning, so try not to intervene and let the dogs sort things out on their own.
Marking your dog’s first birthday is something that many dog owners like to do, and it is also a good idea to think about what you might like to do with your dog next, or for the rest of their lives.
If you are thinking of getting involved in canine sport or something similar, when your dog is one, they can start learning the basics and maybe join a group or club, and start picking up new skills, and you can begin to assess what they might be capable of!
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