puppy in living room with mom chewing on shoe

The Awkward Years - Transitioning from Puppy to Adult Dog

Maggie Marton | September 16, 2018

Has your roly-poly puppy suddenly turned into a full-fledged dog?

That first year flies by! Before you know it, your puppy has blown through puppyhood and into adolescence (the long-legged, big-pawed clumsiness and bad-decisions stage!) and then coasted into dog-hood.

It goes so fast!

Just how fast? A lot of aging milestones depend on breed, but it’s generally a good idea to consider your pup an adult around a year old. For the few months leading up to that first birthday bash and the few months after, your dog’s changing big time from goofy pup to semi-mature adult. It’s an awkward transition--thankfully free from braces--but there are a few things to watch for to support your dog during this shift:


Now’s the time to transition from puppy food to adult food. Do it slowly to avoid any GI upset. Add a little adult food to your puppy food, then slowly shift the ratio over the span of a few weeks so that in about a month your dog is eating only adult food.


Training is key. Adolescent dogs love to push boundaries, of course, so you’ve hopefully been working on manners already! But, as your pup matures and grows, it’s so important to enforce good manners. Especially if you have a bigger breed, puppy behaviors like jumping and nipping aren’t cute when it’s a big boy knocking into everyone. Find a local positive-reinforcement trainer to help you during this shift.


Chat with your vet about what types of exercise are appropriate for your dog at this stage. Puppies need regular gentle exercise so as not to tax their developing bones and joints, but full-blown adult dogs need a bit more to stay fit.

While there are lots of changes during this time, you can support your pup by showering him with love, healthy food, a good workout, and trips to the vet. It’s easy to feel sad about the puppy stage being behind you--all that squishy cuddliness and puppy breath--but adult dogs chew up fewer shoes and become solid, loving best buddies. Adulthood will be a blast!