Adult Dog – Top FAQs For Adult Dog Owners

Adult Dog - A Resource Guide For Adult Dog Owners

Today we’re going to talk about your adult dog. This site is packed with puppy information, because many new puppy owners need our help.

But not everyone owns a puppy, and there are many great resources for people whose dogs have passed that cute and bitey puppy phase.

Most of you probably have an adult Lab, and adult dogs have problems of their own.

While the answers to many of those problems are here on this website, they can sometimes be harder to find, and we want to put that right

It can seem at times as though everything is written for puppies. Puppy training, puppy socialization, puppy feeding, and so on.

But actually, if you have an adult dog there is a wealth of information here for you too.

That is what this page is about. It’s an FAQ and you’ll find plenty of links here to take you to the articles, tips, and resources that you need to get help with and enjoy your adult dog.

Your adult dog questions

We’ll be adding to this page regularly too, so be sure to add your own adult dog questions in the comments

We should probably start by stating what we mean by an ‘adult dog’. Because our second most asked question about adult dogs is:

#1 When is a dog an adult?

This is a more complex question than you might think. A dog is not truly adult until he has completely matured in three different respects.

  • Physically
  • Mentally
  • Sexually

Different breeds of dog mature at different rates, and those rates may very between the three different aspects of maturity.

Adult dog information - teeth and dental care, neutering, training and socializing older dogs, and much moreSo while most people would consider Labradors to be adult in all respects by the age of two. Some other breeds are adult at an earlier age, and others at a later age.

Labrador development is a fascinating topic and one you can read up on in these two articles

We’ll move on now to the most popular question that the Labador Site Team are asked about adult dogs! Let’s dive inside your dog’s mouth and look for the answer to the first one. The question is:

#2 How many teeth does an adult dog have?

The answer to this question is a bit more straightforward than the last one. Adult dogs usually (not always) have 42 teeth.

Obviously that may not be the case for your dog if he has ever had surgery on his jaw or a tooth knocked out or extracted.

There is also an unusual (but not rare) and probably inherited condition where some dogs, Labs included, have slightly less teeth than normal

You can find loads more info on this condition and on the whole process of getting teeth in the teeth and teething page.

And information on doggie dental care in this article: Dental Care for Your Labrador

Our next two questions are about feeding. Food and feeding are some of the most popular topics on the site.

#3 What is the best adult dog food

We have some great Labrador feeding resources for you.  The most important one for adult Labrador is our Complete Guide to Feeding a Labrador. It’s packed full of information and our favorite foods.

Also don’t miss Choosing Healthy Treats For Your Dog

And for raw feeding enthusiasts:

We also have lots of information on different ‘people’ foods that many of us like to share with our dogs. For example

Next is one of our most important questions. Because many people these days aim to rescue an adult dog instead of buying a small puppy. And rescue dogs sometimes need a bit of help with potty training

#4 How to potty train an adult dog

First, let’s make it clear that adult dogs can be potty trained. Even a dog that has lived in a grubby outdoor kennel or been chained up in a yard for years, can learn to be clean indoors.

And it doesn’t take forever

The principles are similar to potty training a puppy, but in many ways simpler. Because you don’t have to cope with a puppy’s small and inefficient bladder.

Here are the instructions you’ll need:

and you may also find our guide to bringing home a rescue dog (see below) helpful.

#5 How to adopt an adult dog

Many people choose to rescue an older dog from a shelter, rather than purchase a puppy.  This is a wonderful experience for most of those that make this decision.  But it also often brings a few challenges. 

A little help and support can make the transition smoother for both of you

We provide a list of Labrador rescue societies,  and information on how to help a rescue dog settle into your family in these articles

“Bringing home a rescue dog” is also available as a downloadable pdf guide.

#6 How to train an adult dog

It is never too late to start training your dog.  One of my dogs is fourteen and she is still learning new tricks and skills!

Puppy training and adult dog training are pretty much the same these days. It is all done with kindness, and the whole process is fun.

Whether you are teaching a dog not to pull on a lead, or teaching him to come when he is called, the stages of training are the same.

When is a dog an adult? Your adult dog FAQs answered hereSo don’t waste another moment, but head straight over to our training guides, to get started.

#7 How to socialize an adult dog

This one can be a harder nut to crack. The best and easiest time to socialize a dog is before he reaches the age of 12 or 13 weeks.

That doesn’t mean you can’t succeed with an older dog, but it is harder and it does take longer. So you’ll need to be patient.

Here are the instructions you’ll need to follow: How to socialize an older dog

#8 Adult dog vaccinations

Our next most frequently asked question is about vaccination for adult dogs. Do they really need them every year?

Potty training adult dogs - and other adult dog FAQs answered hereCheck out that link for the answer. We also have information on the risks of vaccinating or over-vaccinating,  and the side effects, together with standard vaccination schedules in our puppy vaccination articles. Much of this applies to adult dogs

#9 Neutering an adult dog and breeding

Neutering is another topic that has become quite contentious in recent years. Some people have their dogs neutered as puppies, but many people nowadays are leaving it.

We look at all these issues, and at what is involved in neutering your adult dog here: Neutering Your Labrador

For those of you thinking of breeding from your adult dog, we have two great articles for you to read

Our last FAQ is a topic that weighs heavily on many of us these days

#10 Adult dog weight – what should my dog weigh?

Many people freely admit they are carrying an extra pound or two – but what about our dogs. Is your Lab a little on the large side?

How much should my dog weigh” is a very common question and many dog owners want to know exactly how much the scales should say when their adult dog steps onto them.

Information center for adult dog parentsYou’ll find plenty of answers in this article. And if your Lab is a bit on the plump side, you may want to check this one out too: Fat Labrador

Adult Dog – A Summary

Plenty of people need help with their adult dog. Whether it be for training and behavior issues, or concerns over health.

Dogs fascinate us. And we love to know what goes on inside their heads, and to find answers to all the doggy questions that spring to mind when we spend time with them.

We have a number of article series on different aspect of being a dog.

We also have a brilliant forum packed full of other people who share their lives with Labradors. So do come along and join in the fun

And don’t forget to drop your comments and suggestions for new questions and topics about adult dogs, in the comments box below.

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Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of several books on dogs. She is the founder of the Labrador Site and a regular contributor. She is passionate about helping people enjoy their Labradors and lives in Hampshire with her husband and four dogs.


  1. Pippa,
    Don’t know if this is proper place for this question. But ……
    I have a 2yo black female lab yesterday started drooling out the rt bottom lip. Today it is worse. I have run my finger around in her mouth found nothing. We live in so. Az. Out in foothills. So thinking she might of gotten bit or stung by something I gave her 2 Benadryl tablets of course made her sleepy and took a little bit of the swelling down but she is still drooling there was not very much swelling to begin with and she’s eating and drinking as normal any thoughts or suggestions would be highly appreciated AZ getting to a vet within the next 3 days is not feasible I am a firefighter EMT and have a lot of medical supplies at Home just for your information

  2. Hi, I have a question and a problem so I need to hear if any one has this problem also ,and what to do. I have a Black female Lab who has always been very hyper but very loving. She all up to date on all vaccines. I noticed that this past winter she has slowly become very aggressive. Not towards the family but people she don’t know. A neighbor of ours came over and she was in the house barking her head off till she couldn’t stand it anymore went right through the screen door and bit the neighbor. My husband had all to do to pull her off him. Today the lady came to read our electric meter and she jumped over the gate and nailed her as well. She has NEVER ever done this before. She is 5yrs. I have an appt with our vet on tuesday. I just don’t understand where this came from. Never seen an aggresive lab in my life. I’ve been raising Labs 25yrs and never had this happen. Any info or advice you can give would be greatly appreciated

  3. Hi – I have a question. 2 years ago my sister and I adopted a senior dog. He is the joy of our lives. He has a little quirk – he gets upset if we sneeze, cough or clear our throats. His ears go down and he leaves the room and goes into a hiding spot (his previous owner died). What can we do so he won’t be afraid of the noise?