Adult Dogs

As we become older we notice changes in ourselves, like human’s, dogs also experience change as they mature.

When does a dog becomes an adult dog?

Becoming an adult occurs between 1 to 2 years for dogs. Smaller breeds stop growing earlier, while giant breeds can take up to 2 years to reach full size.

Small dogs live longer and age slower (4 years per human year), while giant breeds have the shortest life span and age quickly (7-13 years per human year).

  • Small breeds < 10kg reach adulthood at around 9 to 12 months
  • Medium breeds 10 to 15kg reach adulthood at around 12 months
  • Large breeds 25 to 50kg reach adulthood at around 12 to 18 months
  • Giant breeds 25 to 50kgs reach adulthood at around 18 to 24 months

How often should my dog get a vet check?

A yearly check-up will help to pick up any concerns early on. At the same time, we can also help worm your pet and update any vaccinations required. Of course, we are always happy to assist with routine maintenance, like nail trims, anal gland expression and arthritis injections.

Common health concerns for adult dogs

  • Allergies
  • Bad breath and tooth decay
  • Grass seeds
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Injuries , such as wounds, sprains, strains
  • Lumps and bumps
  • Bladder infections
  • Anxiety and other behaviour concerns

If you suspect your dog may have one of these conditions or symptoms, please contact us or your local vet.

What food you should never feed your dog

Please avoid feeding your dog a lot of human foods. There are many things that are toxic to dogs.

Please never give your dog any of the following foods:

  • Cooked bones
  • Onion, including cooked onion in foods like bolognese sauce or pizza
  • Grapes or sultanas
  • Spicy foods
  • Chocolate or other human sweets
  • Coffee, tea, energy drinks, alcohol

Dog foods to be careful with

Meaty bones While a raw meaty bone will help to clean your dog’s teeth, they can cause unwellness, including diarrhoea, vomiting, broken teeth or even more serious internal problems like a piece getting stuck in their mouth or intestine. Bones are also more likely to cause fights between dogs.

Dairy products

Many dogs are lactose intolerant. This means they don’t digest milk and other dairy well, which often results in diarrhoea and unwellness.

Meat products

Raw meat products can result in diarrhoea and vomiting in your dog. We recommend that any meat product you feed your puppy is cooked (except for raw bones) and given in small amounts only.


Raw eggs can also cause gastro. We recommend cooking any eggs given to your puppy. While 1 to 2 cooked eggs weekly is a nice treat, we don't recommend a large number of them.

Keeping your dog happy

It is important to continue your dog’s training and socialisation into their adult years. Adult dogs need to continue practising the training and social skills they learned in puppyhood. Even the star of the puppy class can forget how to behave if kept isolated for 12 months or more!

If your adult dog was lucky enough to have a good start in life, it will be a joy to walk in the park and perhaps hang out for a “puppaccino” with you at the local coffee shop.

When they are not hanging out with you, make sure they have a favourite toy (or a few) to entertain themselves with at home. There are constant new surprises on the market that will be exciting to try out on your pooch.

Here are some fun activities to do with your dog:

  • RSPCA Million Paws Walk
  • Join your local dog obedience club. They run regular, fun activities
  • Host a birthday party for your pet
  • Canine Colour Me Happy Day, beach party or pupcake party
  • Book a day at a pet resort for some pool play or run in the sand with friends
  • Attend local pet expos for up-to-date local information on dog care

Advice on grooming your dog

If your dog's coat gets too long or matted, the skin underneath suffers and so does your dog. In summer, grass seeds often get caught in fur and, if not promptly removed, can bury away into the skin. In winter, a wet and matted coat can result in terrible skin infections under the matt.

When and how to brush your dog

  • Ideally, your dog should have a thorough brush before a bath
    This is particularly important in longer haired dogs, where any matts will tighten in the bath and may pull on your dog’s skin. With a quality brush, lots of hair will be removed, so this is best done outside.
  • Some breeds, such as the Poodle, do not shed their fur 
    These breeds need clipping by a professional groomer every three months. They can still enjoy a regular brush though.
  • Some breeds, such as Malamutes, are “double coated”
    These breeds have a thick undercoat and are best brushed with a rake type brush to remove dead hair.
  • For your short-coated dog, a zoom groom or furminator will get rid of excess fur
    It may seem like heaps of fur comes off your dog. As long as the skin is healthy and no bald patches appear, this is ok.

Dog signs and symptoms you should never ignore

There are certain situations where a visit to the vet is essential for your dog’s health. If you notice any of the following signs and symptoms, please contact us or your local vet immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fitting
  • Collapse
  • Swollen face
  • Unable to walk. This includes both being unable to get up or not being able to put weight on one leg
  • Vomiting repeatedly during the course of 30 minutes
  • Vomiting on an empty stomach
  • Vomiting up water
  • Blood in vomit or blood in diarrhoea
  • Refusing food for more than 24 hours
  • If your dog has eaten rat poison
  • If your dog has eaten medication meant for people
  • If your dog has eaten a foreign object like a sock, toy or rock
  • A bleeding wound where the bleeding does not stop with 2 minutes of firm pressure
  • Continuing yelping
  • If you have seen your dog with a snake

Further information

For more information, please contact us at Glen Iris Veterinary Hospital & Cattery.

We are conveniently in the City of Stonnington and Glen Eira. The pawfect location for pet parents living in Glen Iris, Malvern, Toorak, Kooyong, Armadale and surrounding areas!