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When Does a Puppy Become a Dog? 7 Signs Your Puppy is No Longer a Puppy

Laura Day

July 23, 2019

When Does a Puppy Become a Dog

Everyone wants their puppy to stay little forever, but unfortunately, they have to grow up eventually! As pups mature into dogs, their needs change; you need to be able to keep up with what those changes are in order to keep Fido happy and healthy.

If you expect to accommodate all of your puppy’s needs as he grows up, you need to be able to recognize the signs of maturity. Today, you are going to learn about what the signs of adulthood in dogs are and how you should adjust your lifestyle to take proper care of your doggo!

#1: He calms down

Puppies are just about always bouncing off the walls with excitement, ready to play at a moment’s notice. They have a lot of energy to expend as they grow, but that all changes when your dog reaches maturity. An adult dog’s behavior and demeanor becomes more reserved and calm over time. Of course, this is not true for all dogs, as some breeds like golden retrievers stay more active than others, but it is still something to keep in mind as you watch your pup become an adult.

What you need to do

As your dog becomes less active, you may be relieved. Finally, he isn’t begging to play fetch every hour! It is okay to be just a little happy about this, but you still need to encourage him to play regularly, and keep encouraging socialization. Just like humans, dogs become unhealthy when they lead a sedentary lifestyle. This leads to several problems when they get older. For example, a sedentary dog may suffer from:

These issues can become fatal if you do not address them quickly. Play with your doggo every day to make sure he stays healthy and satisfied. As an added bonus, it encourages you to be more active as well!

#2: He loses all of his baby teeth

One of the first signs you will notice to signify that your pup is becoming an adult is that he will have lost all of his baby teeth. As dogs grow, they will need a stronger set of chompers to chow down on tougher food and grip sticks and toys better. When those new teeth come in, your puppy is not going to be a puppy for much longer!

What you need to do

He loses all of his baby teeth

A dog’s teeth need regular care if you want them to stay in his head. Rotted teeth are painful and when they fall out, your dog will have a hard time chewing his food. In order to prevent this from happening, get his teeth inspected and brushed by a vet whenever recommended!

#3: He does not eat as much

Young dogs are highly active both inside and out, so they need to consume more calories than an adult dog does. When maturity is reached and they stop changing physically, they will not need as much food to be satisfied and healthy.

What you need to do

What you can do to ensure the health of your growing dog is to monitor his food intake closely and feed him a balanced and healthy diet. Not sure where to get started? Ask your vet! Your pup’s doctor can tell you what food he needs, how much he needs, and what you should look out for as far as his intake goes.

#4: Destructive behaviors will become less frequent

Puppies quite frequently perform destructive behaviors like chewing on furniture, shoes, pillows, etc. This is part of what they do based on instinct and mood, and they should stop doing these things as often as they age. As long as you are giving your dog enough exercise and attention, he will stop trying to destroy the house when you are gone.

What you need to do

Keep doing what you are doing! Play with your dog every day, give him lots of love, and spend time training. If he is occupied and content, he likely will not turn to your prized possessions to play with.

#5: His adult coat will come in

Puppies have different fur than adult dogs do. Puppy fur is short and fuzzy while adult fur is often coarser and at least a little longer. Fido will eventually shed his puppy fuzz when he begins to mature; this generally occurs somewhere around six months of age to a year.

What you need to do

Brush your dog’s coat often. This will keep it shiny and healthy and will cut down on the amount of shedding, leaving you to vacuum less often and relax with a book more. If his coat is longer, you may want to consider seeing a professional groomer for the best results.

#6: Sexual maturity occurs

When your dog reaches sexual maturity, that means that he/she is able to impregnate another dog or to give birth. They share that in common with other mammals like us! Think of it as reaching puberty. When your male dog shows more interest in sex and your female dog begins to have bloody discharge, you will know that they are reaching sexual maturity.

What you need to do

Sexual maturity in dogs often comes with a lot of erratic or excited puppy behavior. Spend plenty of time with them to tire them out and help them calm down. If your dog becomes agitated, use any calming techniques that you have used in the past to help them.

#7: He stops growing

When your puppy stops growing physically and he is already sexually matured, this is a sign that he is no longer a puppy, but instead a full adult. This usually happens between one and three years depending on the size and breed.

What you can do

All you have to worry about is giving your doggo enough space to run and play as well as giving him a comfortable shelter. Dogs who feel cramped or uncomfortable may begin to exhibit destructive or agitated behavior.

Whatever challenges growing up brings for your pup, you will be able to handle them without breaking a sweat! With a little love and care, your puppy will grow into a happy, healthy, and well-rounded adult.


Bringing a new family addition into the home is extremely exciting! Becoming a new puppy parent comes with a ton of new joys, challenges and responsibilities. PupBox was created to help new puppy parents like yourself, by providing all of the toys, treats, accessories and training information you need, when you need it. CLICK HERE to learn more about PupBox.


And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!