Taking the best care of your dog during the course of his or her life takes planning and work, and includes preventing illness. This is a top goal of ours at Bayside Animal Hospital. We’re here to help you every step of the way and to help provide your pet with the best life possible. While some breeds live longer than others on average, the stages of every dog’s life will unfold in the same way. This guide is designed to provide your dog with preventative dog care for the absolute best in lifelong dog care.

Stage 1: A Young Puppy

young golden retriever puppy sitting in a food bowl in the grass

Puppyhood is the most exciting time of a dog’s life. Everything is new to your new puppy, and it’s fun and fascinating to watch them grow and discover the world around them. Puppies should remain with their mother and littermates until they are at least 8 weeks old. During this stage, the focus should be getting them spayed and neutered, microchipped, and acquiring the necessary vaccines, or “puppy shots.” Doing so prevents harmful diseases. Now is also the perfect time to start your puppy’s training. Beginning dog training early helps prevent unwanted behaviors, builds trust, prevents pet emergencies, and helps you grow closer and bond with your new furry friend.

Stage 2: Doggie Adolescence

Mixed breed adolescent dog lying on rug

Do dogs go through puberty? Yes! Between the ages of 6 to 18 months, dogs will outgrow their puppy-like appearance and begin to look like full-grown dogs. Early in this stage, it’s common for them to have adorably awkward gangly legs or big paws they haven’t quite grow into yet. It’s important to continue preventative dog care for optimum pet health during this stage. Ideally, this should include a healthy diet, plenty of exercise & play, and the establishment of a parasite prevention plan.

Dental exams and care should also begin, including pet tooth brushing at home. Dental disease forms early in a pet’s life, and sadly most pets over the age of 2 have some form of dental disease. Here at Bayside Animal Hospital, pet dental disease prevention is at the top of our priority list.

Just as with human teenagers, adolescent pups will commonly start to display some rebellious behaviors. This is where dog training becomes extremely important, as you teach them how you’d like them to behave as they age. If put off too long, your adolescent pups will go into the next stage, sporting unfavorable behaviors and routines that can be much harder to alter later.

Stage 3: Your Dog During Adulthood

adult dog standing in the grass, black and tan

The stages of a dog’s life last for varying periods depending on the breed, but adulthood is the longest stage. From 2 to 3 years of age and beyond, your dog will still need plenty of exercise, playtime, and a good diet. These elements are key to preventative dog health. Routine check-ups with your veterinarian will identify any potential threats to your dog’s health and offer swift interventions. Accidents do happen, so having access to a vet clinic with emergency care and services is also essential–just in case your pup gets hurt or is acting strange. 

If you’re local, our staff is here at Bayside Animal Hospital as your veterinarian in Kemah, Texas. We’re available for emergencies, and as your caring experts for dog health and wellness.

Stage 4: Senior Dogs and Everyday Health

Senior dog, laying on porch

Senior canines remain wonderful companions throughout their lives but need a bit of extra attention and care. Ideally, this includes wellness visits to the veterinarian (we suggest every 6 months), an adjusted diet plan for optimum health, dental care, and the possibility of supplements. The continuation of parasite prevention, vaccines, and exercise are very important to help your dog live a long, full, and healthy life by your side. 

This is the most difficult stage of a dog’s life, as anyone who has had the honor and joy of loving a senior dog knows. As the signs of aging begin to show, from gray hairs to the whitening of the face, your dog will still be by your side. As their bodies get older, your once-spry dog will likely need to take things slower than before. A common condition in senior dog health is arthritis, which causes chronic inflammation of the joints but can be eased with supplements and support from your veterinarian.

Preventative care throughout a dog’s life will prevent many possible problems that can arise during their senior years. This will extend their senior stage and overall lifespan as long as possible. Diseases and issues that could have been prevented earlier in life can make the senior years difficult–but prevention ensures that their older years are joyful, too. 

Bayside Animal Hospital is Here for Life

Throughout your dog’s life, the Bayside Animal Hospital team is here to support both pets and beloved pet owners in our community with lifelong dog care. If you’re searching for a veterinarian in Kemah, TX, please reach out to us at any time to connect and get started with the best in local pet care. We’re AAHA accredited, feline-friendly, and we’d love to meet you and your four-legged friend during their next wellness visit.