Essentially, there are 4 stages of life for any canine:
- Young Adult
- Mature Adult
These categories should be used as a guide to determine the appropriate care necessary for your pet, for that particular stage. The age, size, lifestyle, health status, and breed of your dog all affect the care that is appropriate for them. The care they receive throughout their lives has a direct impact on their lifespan and energy levels.
The AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) The Canine Life Stage Checklist provides a checklist of items to discuss with each pet owner based on life stage. This table of additional resources offers suggestions to help predict longevity in various common breeds.
Good preventive healthcare and at least semi-annual to annual physical exams will put your dog on track to a long and healthy life.
If your dog is a working or service dog, more frequent veterinary visits may be needed. Work with your veterinarian to develop a plan to maintain your dog’s optimum health and specific physical abilities so they can perform their special role.
As a young adult, your dogwill continue to get a thorough physical exam during veterinary visits. Your veterinarian will take your dog’s temperature and check body and muscle condition, skin, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, heart, lungs, gastrointestinal system, urinary system, brain, nerves, bones, joints, and lymph nodes. Tell your veterinarian about your dog’s mobility and activity at home to help detect early signs of orthopedic disease and arthritis. Click below to learn about some topics you’ll want to discuss with your dog’s veterinary team.
The young adult life stage can be the most challenging as your dog matures socially and behaviorally. Talk to your veterinarian about any issues with jumping, barking, or mouthing. Ask questions and share your concerns, because what you do now will have a lasting effect on your dog’s relationship with you, other people, and other animals.
Many issues can be addressed and corrected with expert advice from your veterinarian, and the veterinary team can help you select appropriate trainers. Training classes improve socialization and well-being and strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
With more than 50% of dogs suffering from obesity and obesity-related illnesses, ensure your dogdoesn’t follow the crowd. Your veterinarian will establish a target weight range based on your dog’s current weight and muscle condition. Weight control and good health go hand in hand!
Also, your dogmay develop a medical condition that is effectively managed by food with specific nutrient levels. So many pet food choices can be overwhelming, but veterinarians have the most medical training when it comes to nutrition for dogs, so let them help you. Together, you can choose a quality food with targeted nutrition based on Hiru’s breed, size, and needs.
Thinking of or already using supplements, like CBD? Talk to the veterinary team so they can help you make the safest choices for your dog.
Parasites don’t only affect puppies—young adult dogs still need to be protected. A year-round medicine to prevent intestinal parasites should be continued as part of your dog’s healthcare plan. Remember, parasites are found in a dog’s feces and can be transmitted to humans, so talk to your veterinarian about how to keep everyone in your home safe. Heartworm disease, fleas, and ticks don’t discriminate by age, either. Keep heartworm preventive and flea and tick control up-to-date. Expect annual testing for tick-borne infection, heartworm disease, and intestinal parasites at your visit.
Vaccination is a crucial component to preventive medicine in dogs. Vaccinations keep your dog’s immune system strong to fight against infection. Several vaccines were likely administered when your dog was a puppy. Depending on your dog’s vaccine history, lifestyle, and risk of exposure to disease, your veterinarian may adjust their vaccine schedule. Antibody titer testing to determine protection from a few specific viral infections may be suggested as well. Your veterinarian will advise which vaccines are necessary to keep your dog healthy.
A young adult dog’s deciduous teeth (“baby teeth”) may still fall out, and permanent teeth have grown in or are on the way. During all this action, your dog may want to chew on everything! Talk with the veterinary team about safe chew toys.
With good dental care throughout a dog’s life, dental disease can be prevented or minimized.If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to chronic pain, infection, and poor quality of life. Because so many dogs are affected by dental disease, your dog’s teeth and mouth will be examined by your veterinarian so a dental plan can be designed and discussed. The plan may require anesthesia to obtain X-rays to further examine teeth positioning and evaluate and treat periodontal disease. If you have concerns about anesthesia, tell your veterinary team. They are happy to answer any questions and explain the risks associated with nonanesthetic dentistry.
Talk to your veterinarian about home oral hygiene. Find out about dental products approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) that can help maximize your dog’s lifelong health.