What are the different life stages dogs go through?

Similarly to a human’s life cycle, dogs go through different life stages. It is important to identify the stage at which your dog is in order to ensure you are giving them the correct food at the right amount, you are taking the necessary steps for their health and wellbeing, and that you support them with things they may need at that stage.

Dog life cycles can be split into three major stages:

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Growth / Puppy stage: This stage lasts from birth up until the dog matures. This may be different based on the breed of dog.

For instance, for small and medium sized breeds, such as Maltese, Beagles, Bichon Frise or other similar breeds, this may take up to 6-12 months.  For larger breeds, such as Labradors, Huskies or other, it may take up to 10-16 months. Finally, for giant breeds, such as Afghan Hounds, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, Great Danes or other, it may go up to 24 months!

However, as the growth stage is extremely important for a dog, it is crucial to make sure you identify the correct stage your dog is at with research and support from your vet when necessary.

To find out how much and how often your puppy should be fed, you must first figure out what their estimated adult dog weight will be. When feeding your puppy, you must look into a variety of factors, including their size, age, and estimated adult body weight. Proper nutrition is key to achieving a well-balanced growth, strong muscle and skeletal formation, a resilient immune system and well-developed brain function.

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Adult Stage: Once your dog reaches maturity, as described above, they reach the adult stage. From a nutritional perspective, adult stages are quite straightforward. You feed them twice a day, pay attention to their calorie and activity levels, and make sure they receive the nutrition they need.

Dogs should be fed based on their size, weight and activity level. A very active dog should have as much as 20 – 40% more calories in their meals than the average dog, even if they are of the same size. An inactive dog should have as much as 10% lower calories in their meals than the average dog.


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Senior Stage: Similar to concept of maturity of puppies, Dogs reach the senior stage at different ages. There is no exact timeframe for when a dog becomes a ‘senior dog’. Each dog needs to be treated on an individual basis, based on their breeds and other such factors.

Small and medium sized dogs (up to 20 kgs / 50 pounds) may reach seniority at 7 years old. Larger dogs (up to 40 kgs / 90 pounds) may do so at 6 years of age. Giant dogs (those who weigh over 40 kgs / 90 pounds), may reach seniority at 5 years old.

Dogs at the senior stage require high quality food that with easier to digest proteins. This is key to ensuring their muscle and skeletal strength. You must also pay attention to their physical needs, such as good bedding, to ensure their muscles and bones are well supported.  

What stage is your dog at? Do you have any tips for fellow dog parents you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading.

Have a paw-some day!

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