Canines are companions that show unconditional love to you and your family. The average life span of a dog is around 10-15 years, depending on the breed and if you have a long-term commitment in bringing up your dog.  As your dog gets older, he will undergo changes both physically and mentally. So, what exactly are the major differences between a dog being an adult and being a matured adult? The vet’s office considers a dog to be an adult when its age is somewhere between 12 and 18 months. Some smaller breeds like Yorkies can be considered an adult when they are 12-months-old, while larger breeds like Golden Retrievers are called an adult only when they are 18 months old. Similarly, any dog from seven years of age and older are called senior dogs.

Adult Dogs

Some differences between the adult and matured adult dog are:

Adult Dogs

An adult dog is confident, energetic and trained enough to make his way in the world. While dogs of all ages deserve equal care and attention, adulthood requires less supervision than other stages. This is the stage when you begin to feel close to your dogs. During adulthood your pet will:

  •  Reach his maximum size and personality. His paws will be in proportion to the rest of his body. His height and weight will remain constant at this stage as he is fully developed.
  •  Your dog will show less interest towards play.
  •  He seems to be mentally matured. At this stage, there will be less or no jumps in his development, but you should continue training your dog.

Senior Dogs

Just like humans, dogs too undergo the process of aging. It appears earlier for some breeds while aging signs  are delayed in other breeds. If we carefully attend to these changes, we can help the dog feel younger, active and loved in his later years. These are some of the major changes that happen as a pet ages:

Slowing Down

Messages are carried along the nervous system at about 6000m per second in young dogs whereas in senior dogs, this comes down to 1300 m per second. Poor blood circulation to the lungs and other organs of the body indicate the dog will perform slower and he will gradually suffer from memory loss. Mental activity also slows down in the aging process. He will be disturbed by changes in routine. So, training will take a longer time for him to learn because of his short-term memory.

Sleeping More

The dog which used to be alert and waiting excitedly to be taken out for a walk in the morning will now become least bothered to get off his cozy bed and he will become less sensitive to noise around him. Your dog will often remain fast asleep in spite of waking him several times.

Gets Tired Easily

He refuses to walk more and lags behind as he gets tired easily. Sometimes you will need to raise your voice and encourage him to move along with you. This may be due to mental confusion in elderly dogs. Hence, you need to be careful that your dog doesn’t get confused and lost when you take him out. When young and active dogs are around him, he may feel threatened and show aggressive behavior.

Prefers to Remain Undisturbed

Your dog might prefer to be isolated from everyone else as he needs more rest.

Vision Can Deteriorate

Vision begins to deteriorate with the first signs being reflecting more light at night. Their short sight gets affected as they get older but their long sight generally remains excellent.

Inability to Control His Bladder

It is common for older dogs to feel stiffness in muscles and joints especially in the morning or after a long rest. Your dog may tend to consume more water but may be unable to control his bladder and hence, he will pass urine frequently and he may wet the bed while resting. If he messes his bed, you should not lose your temper as it only makes your dog more stressed. Bedding will need to be cleaned frequently to reduce odor and keep the dog dry. You should also bathe your dog more to avoid skin infections.

Dental Diseases

Older dogs are likely to suffer from dental problems such as bad breath, infection, gingivitis, inflamed gums and tartar build-up. If you notice any of these symptoms, proper treatment should be given to your dog.

Eats Food Slower

Your dog may eat his food slower or sometimes leave a large portion of it as his food requirement gradually decreases. Also some mature dogs are prone to obesity and therefore, their weight should be monitored regularly.


Older dogs are prone to develop constipation. Hence, care must be taken to see their diet is rich in fiber.

These are some of the major differences between an adult and elderly dog that can be easily noticed.


About The Author: Lina is a writer blogger. She loves writing, traveling and reading books. She contributes to

Filed under: Caring For Your Senior Dog

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!