Mental and Physical Development
Preventing Boredom and Destructive Behavior If your dog suddenly starts destroying household items and behaving in an immature manner, you may be wondering if they are mentally regressing back to puppyhood. This type of behavior is actually quite normal for adult dogs, and it is usually the result of reduced attention, boredom or hormones running amok.
If an adult dog is not given enough attention, mental stimulation and activities, they will become bored. Long-term boredom can lead to destructive behavior that will only escalate with time. Reduce your dog's boredom by frequently changing their toys, giving them plenty of exercise and increasing the time you spend with them. Spaying or neutering your dog may also help to calm raging hormones and reduce their destructive tendencies.
Food Requirements for Adult Dogs Many pet owners estimate how much food their dog requires based on the suggested serving amount on the label of the bag or can of food. However, you should not use this as your only resource, as nutritional values can vary greatly, even between seemingly the same product made by different companies.
Most veterinarians maintain that serving-size guidelines differ from dog to dog, and within each breed. Each dog has their own metabolism and you may inadvertently be overfeeding them.
Your dog should be fed as much as necessary to maintain their ideal body condition. You should be able to feel your dog's ribs when you run your hands along their body. They should be wider through the chest and narrower at the waist. If your dog looks like a hot dog from above, you might want to cut back on the kibble and get them more exercise. They should have an hourglass figure when viewed from both the top and the side.
Talk to your veterinarian about recommending a specialized diet and exercise routine.
Health and Veterinary Care: Annual Vaccinations
By the time your puppy is a year and a half old, you should check with your veterinarian to see when your dog received their last vaccinations. Your dog should receive their booster shots a year after that date.
Adult boosters are typically given annually for the duration of the dog's life. However, studies have shown that this is not necessary for core vaccines (parvovirus, distemper, adenovirus and rabies). In fact, these vaccines probably provide immunity for at least seven years.
But to be on the safe side, the American Animal Hospital Association suggests that boosters be given once every three years. Some state and local statutes still require annual rabies vaccinations. If this is the case, you will need to comply for legal reasons unless your dog has a documented medical reason excusing them.
Not all vaccines will last as long as a core vaccine.
- Leptospirosis must be repeated every year in order to be effective.
- The Lyme disease vaccine must be repeated yearly.
- Bordetella, an optional vaccine that prevents one common type of kennel cough, must also be repeated yearly. It should be given at least a week before anticipated exposure to situations where kennel cough might be prevalent, such as in boarding kennels.
Remember this schedule:
- Puppy vaccinations at eight, 12 and 16 weeks
- Adult booster one year after last puppy vaccinations
- Annual boosters only for certain optional vaccinations
- Annual rabies booster if required by local law
- Three-year boosters of core vaccines
- Three-year rabies booster if yearly is not required by local law
Print the Puppy Life Vaccination Timeline for an easy way to keep track of your puppies shots.
In the wild, aggression helps a dog maintain or advance its position in the pack. But in the human household, this type of behavior can be dangerous. If your dog is showing aggressive behavior, it could be due to fear, anxiety or pain, or because they are trying to assert their dominance.
To reduce aggressive behavior in your dog, you must continually assert yourself as the pack leader. Always make your dog sit or lie down before you give them something they want, do not give your dog attention every time they demand it and do not let your dog sit on the furniture or sleep in your bed.
Reduce aggression caused by fear or anxiety by socializing your dog with other pets and people, and taking your dog outside as much as possible. Any sudden aggression or snapping could be caused by pain, and a visit to the veterinarian may be needed.