Featured articles

  • Obedience Training

    Dogs are social creatures, but without proper training they behave like, well, animals. Obedience training also tells your puppy who’s in charge. Read more

  • Toilet Training Adult Dogs

    Toileting inside or in the wrong area can occur at any age. Read more

  • Pregnancy

    So you think your little girl might be about to become a proud parent? How exciting! But before you can brag about being a grandparent, there are a few important things you need to know. Read more

Physical Characteristics

  • Most puppies have finished their growth and development by 18 months of age and can then officially call themselves adult dogs
  • Teeth – clean and perfect, especially if you maintain daily care, though dental problems can be seen in 80% of dogs over 4 years.
  • Shiny adult coat
  • Clear eyes and good eyesight with excellent hearing
  • Dogs of this age that are fed and exercised appropriately are lean and muscular
  • Years 3 to 5 considered "Prime of their life" age
  • Later in this period you may see first instances of allergy-based skin problems, such as flea allergy dermatitis, atopy and food allergy


  • By one year, dogs should know how to behave appropriately in public places
  • May still get excited easily and have occasional "mad moments"
  • Will know their ranking in your family
  • Most of their development has been programmed into their brains
  • Dogs at this age may still have some annoying puppy habits such as chewing and occasionally some dogs could still benefit from toilet training.
  • Continue to train dogs but recognise it may take them longer to learn a new trick then when they were younger
  • Females that have not been desexed may display aggression as they experience heat and may even become pregnant
  • By three years of age socialisation should be maintained, though your dog is likely to have "settled down" more, compared to earlier years.
  • Antisocial behaviour will be more difficult to correct by this age.


  • By one year, you need to have switched to adult dog food
  • Ensure the six nutrient groups are being served: proteins, fats and oils, minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and water. A good quality dog food will contain this – ask your vet clinic staff to assist in choosing the most appropriate dog food for your dog
  • Amount of food may vary depending on size of dog and level of activity and to prevent obesity, don't feed too much
  • Treats should represent less than 5% of their daily dietary intake
  • Avoid feeding just before/after exercise as this can make your dog's stomach twist, which can be fatal
  • A body condition score can be done by your vet to test their weight
  • Special diets may be required for dogs with more specific dietary needs e.g. foods for weight reduction, skin and food allergies, dogs with joint problems
  • Need plenty of fresh water, as always

Vaccinations and other preventative treatments

  • Annual check-ups are necessary to monitor for parasites, respiratory problems, ear infections, tooth tartar and decay etc
  • Groom your dog as required – the frequency will depend on your dog's coat, and as they get older, check for any skin lumps, bumps or growths as you do this.
  • Maintain heartworm, flea and worm prevention, and tick prevention in areas where they are a problem
  • Booster vaccinations may be required - this will be assessed by your veterinarian at annual check-ups.
  • Keep an eye on changes in weight, appetite, coat quality and agility which might suggest underlying disease