Animals of the dog family were probably the original tamed pets, which have accompanied humans for at least 20,000 years and possibly as many as 40,000. The standard lifespan of dogs varies, but the median age of longevity is 10- 13 years. The course of life for canines consists of puppyhood, adolescence, adulthood and senior years, wherein each stage necessitates specific care for the dog, respectively.
- The first phase is puppyhood, which starts at approximately 63 days after gestation and continues until the puppy can reproduce (typically by 6-18 months of age).
- The primary need for a puppy during this time is to be with the mother and siblings. During puppyhood, it is advisable for puppies to receive training and vaccinations.
At this age, puppies discover the various ways of interaction with humans, other dogs and pets.
- Weaning is another need for puppies when they are 3-4 weeks old, which refers to the process of puppies beginning to eat food other than mothers’ milk or milk formula. They should be fully switched over from milk to food by the time they are 7-8 weeks old.
- Behaviour such as a male starting to lift his leg to urinate, and a female going into heat for the first time, signify the end of puberty, which usually terminates by 18 months of age.
- The dog may become disobedient, affecting its learning program, and may not show any interest in following the instructions of the owner and may easily forget preceding commands.\
- The adolescent dog may exhibit destructive behaviour, as a result of boredom or anxiousness. It is essential to exercise with the dog more to counteract their physical changes, mentally stimulate the dog’s needs and tire it for calmer times at home.
- At 1- 3 years, adulthood hits.
- By this time, the dogs would have fully matured sexually.
- During this phase, the dog needs a lot of exercise and playtime, but it will not be so energetic and so demanding attention as during the earlier stages. The dog will flourish vigorously from mental and physical exercise during adulthood, even though it is typically fully house-trained by now.
- Between 6 to 10 years of age, the canine will go into the senior stage of life.
- A senior dog will become less active, slow, eat less and sleep more than during the previous phases, and may also experience weakening of the sense of sight and hearing.
- Such dogs benefit from light strolls and leisurely walks instead of games of fetch.
- The metabolism slows down at this age, and gradual weight gain will creep in. Thus, the dog needs smaller portions 2-3 times a day to bright relief to its digestive system and maintain its optimal health.
To summarise, canine’s bodies change over time at their own rate, just like the human body. Keeping track of the altering needs of dogs is crucial to assure a healthy and happy pet.