The life stages of our pet is something that we should give some thought. Dogs are living beings like humans, and have life stages of which we should be aware. They are born from their parents, raised until the proper age, grow up to be mature adults, explore the world, and eventually pass away like us. They share experiences with their owners and fellow dogs so need to learn learn proper skills. But there is so much more. Here are some basic stages of a dog’s complete life cycle, and some of the things a dog needs during those various stages:
Life Stages of a Dog
- 0-2 weeks: All puppies are born blind and deaf until they reach a certain age (around 10-14 days). They heavily depend on their mother in this period. Senses such as smell, touch and taste begin to develop. And after 2 weeks, their ear canals will open up. Also take note that learning social interaction begins at this stage. Holding them and gently talking to and petting them will get them off to a good start with humans.
- 2-4 weeks: The puppy’s eyes will open, allowing him to see the beautiful world. The first teeth will come out, and he will be able to regulate his own body temperature. Basic locomotion such as crawling, standing and walking are learned in this period.
- 4-12 weeks: Sense will start to mature here and social interaction is increased. This is very important, so let your puppy play around and enjoy life. Also, his fear response begins to develop so one should expose him to various things around the house, and start taking him outdoors.
- 3-6 months: This is a good stage to develop a dog’s behavior by starting obedience training, because he starts to build up energy and he needs to learn that it must be properly channeled. Also, he develops his social sense and becomes independent. Teething occurs and sexual maturation begins.
Permanent growth of the teeth is also completed in this stage (around the 5th month).
- 6-18 months: The dog continues to grow along with his social learning. He will also have high energy levels at this point, and will have also reached his sexual maturity.
- Just like us humans, this is probably the most trying, challenging stage of development for the “parents”, aka “owners”! The following excerpt from an eHow.com article says it best: At the moment when owners start to relax because their puppy is well house trained and no longer chewing everything in sight, the puppy reaches the most challenging part of the dog’s life: the teenager stages. This stage begins between six and eighteen months and ends between one and three years. Adolescent dogs will challenge their owners, test their limits and act as if they have never heard a command. Physically they are reaching sexual maturity if not spayed or neutered, they will become interested in the other sex.
Adult Dog Stage
- The adult age of a fully matured dog occurs when he is around 2 years old. His senior years start when he is around 7 years old.
- During these stages, the dog has become fully matured, independent and responsible.
- Remember that everything that happened to him as a pup will carry on for the rest of his life.
- For dogs to stay fit, regular exercise and and a healthy diet is needed.
The Bridge Stage
- The average life span of a dog depends on the species, but it is usually around 11-12 years. However, there are some dogs that even make it past 20.
- When a dog ages, their facial hairs turn to gray and it may also suffer from many of the same maladies as elderly humans, such as joint pains, hearing loss, cataracts, and kidney disorders.
- Sticking to natural foods as much as possible, and making sure your dog has regular healthy habits will not only possibly prolong the life of your dog, but also make its final years happy, comfortable, and hopefully pain free.