How To Tell If Your Puppy Is Growing OkayCarol Doyle BSc. VN DVM
One thing you’ll notice the few weeks after bringing home your new puppy is how quickly he is growing. Puppies grow very fast, and after the first week they have already doubled in size from their birth weight.
Knowing how big your dog is going to be can help you accommodate for a lot of his needs, such as how much you should be feeding him and finding well-fitted collars. This of course is all essential information that guarantees your four legged friend will have the best quality of life possible.
How fast your puppy will reach adulthood will depend on his breed and even gender, as male dogs tend to be bigger than female dogs. Small breeds reach maturity and adulthood quicker than larger breeds. Think about whether your puppy is a small, medium, large or giant breed. Those at the smaller end of the scale can reach adult size as early as six months of age, whilst a giant dog will continue to grow for 18 – 24 months. The larger the breed, the longer they will take to grow.
Here we will take a look at the different breed sizes, puppy growth stages and factors affecting puppy growth development.
Carol Doyle, BSc VN DVM
Carol DoyIe is a small pet veterinarian in a practice in Ashbourne, Co. Meath and is the human companion to her cats, Nala and Donal, two horses - Indie and Bella, and her dog Phoebe.
As a guest blogger and advisor, Carol shares her professional advice with pet owners, answering many of the questions that she gets asked regularly in-clinic.
Toy and Small Breeds
If your puppy belongs to any of these breeds he will be considered ‘small’ or a toy breed. Examples include a Dachshund, Maltese, Chihuahua, Jack Russell and West Highland Terrier.
Your small breed dog can grow to maturity within a year, and some stop growing by the time they reach 6 months old.
Some examples of medium sized dogs include a Beagle, Border Collies, Kerry Blue Terrier and Cocker Spaniel.
Medium breed dogs tend to reach maturity between 6 – 12 months.
These breeds are usually known to grow into large dogs at the end of their growth period: Rottweiler, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd and Afghan Hound.
Puppies belonging to large breeds can reach full physical maturity between 12 – 18months.
Your puppy may belong to a giant breed, growing even more than the larger breeds. Some pups from these breeds include Saint Bernard, Irish Wolfhound, and Old English Mastiff.
These breeds of dog can take a very long time to grow to full maturity, with many reaching the adult stage at around 2 years and weighing up to 68 kgs without being overweight.
To help with your growing puppy it is important to feed him a diet of high-quality dry dog food that has the correct vitamins and minerals. You should try avoid feeding him any human food or table scraps, as it can lead to obesity as well as imbalances that affect bone and muscle formation.
Because of their small tummies, puppies will need to be fed smaller, more frequent meals than an adult dog. As a general rule, the following feeding guide is recommended:
- Weaning age: all breeds will need to be fed four times a day
- Small/medium breeds:
- Up to four months, feed 3 times per day
- 4-10 months, feed twice per day
- Large/Giant breeds:
- Up to six months, feed 3 times per day
- 6-12 months, feed twice per day
As your puppy continues to grow, there are a few ways to determine if you made the right choice of food for him. High energy levels, a shiny coat, good stool quality all indicate that he is growing healthily.
Look out for these signs, and if you feel that the food is not agreeing with your pup, speak with your Petmania Pet Care Advisor about other options that might be available.
Checking your puppy’s weight and body condition score will help you to track his growth and development and will help guide you in knowing if / when a change in food or activity is required.
Monthly weight checks are suggested for your puppy while he is growing, after which your adult dog should have a weight check at least once every three months. By regularly monitoring your puppy’s weight you will be able to quickly detect if there is any cause for concern, and allow you to take early action to prevent weight related problems from developing.
As always, if you are concerned about any aspect of your puppy’s health and development, making an appointment with your vet is recommended.
Neutering can affect the final size of your dog, as their sex hormones are involved in the puppy development stages. Neutering your puppy too soon and before they are fully mature could result in some stunting of growth. They may also be inclined to gain weight, but this can be prevented through a good diet and frequent exercise. For more on neutering your puppy, click here.