How much weight should my puppy gain?
Whether you’re a first-time breeder or thinking of taking a pup home, there’s many factors that can influence the rate your puppy is gaining weight. Here’s our guide and what to look out for to ensure your pup / litter are gaining weight healthily…
By Emily Roach, Paws in Work guest blogger.
Week by week, from birth to one year.
There’s no exact amount of weight that puppies should gain each week, but it’s on average around 10-15% of their weight each day, translating to 0.5 ounces per week for smaller breeds and 2.5 pounds a week for large dog breeds. Huge milestones are hit during the first 8 weeks of a pup’s life, such as being able to hear, see, crawl, walk, wag their tail and of course, their needle sharp puppy teeth will grow through.This consistent growth is aided by the rich nutrients the pups receive from mum’s milk until they are fully weaned at around 7-8 weeks of age.
Do puppies have growth spurts?
Puppies go through growth spurts at different stages; this is typically around 3-5 months of age for most breeds. At this stage, puppies tend to need double the amount of food compared to when they’re an adult! This is due to them being at a crucial stage of their development and needing enough nutrition to fuel this. Smaller breeds grow to their full size at a faster pace than large and giant breeds, some of which can take up to 2 years to reach their full size!
How can I tell if my puppy is overweight or underweight?
Taking your pup for regular check-ups at your local vet will help gauge if they’re gaining weight at a steady pace based on their breed. Your vet can also give you advice for your pup’s specific needs and how to aid them with healthy weight gain into adulthood. There are signs you can look out for to see if your pup is over or underweight. If your pup is overweight…
- You can’t see or feel their ribs
- You can’t see a natural curve where their waistline sits behind their ribs
If your pup is underweight…
- Their ribs, spine and pelvic bones are obviously visible and easily felt
- Signs of no fat / muscle loss around the shoulders and thighs
Thick coats can be deceptive, so it’s important to regularly feel your pup’s body as they grow. This also gets them used to being touched on different parts of their body, gearing them up for veterinary visits or trips to the groomers.
When will my puppy stop growing?
Typically, it takes the largest dog breeds around 12-18 months to reach their full size. Smaller breeds take an average of 6-8 months to reach their optimum size. Several factors can interfere with their growth; it’s important to be aware of these factors and ask your vet for advice if you’re ever concerned about your pup’s development.
What can hinder a puppy’s development?
It’s important to check feeding guidelines as your puppy develops to ensure they are obtaining enough nutrition to support their growth. There are other factors aside from malnutrition that can stunt a puppy’s growth such as intestinal worm infections. Worms can steal calories from puppies, leading to signs such as an upset tummy, unhealthy coat, a pot belly, and a strong appetite whilst looking thin.
Spaying and neutering isn’t known to stunt your puppy’s growth, but it can impact joint growth in larger dogs. This is why it’s recommended to ensure larger dogs are fully-grown before neutering them too early on in their development. Smaller dogs are neutered/spayed at an average of 6-8 months. Each dog is different, so it’s always best to speak to your veterinarian if you are considering having your dog neutered/spayed.
Strenuous exercise can also influence the development of your dog’s growth plates. It’s advised to walk them at the recommended time, which is 5 minutes for every month of age, twice per day. For example, if your dog is 3 months old, they can have two 15-minute sessions of exercise, or one 30-minute session per day. It’s also important to try not to let your puppy jump up and down from higher surfaces, such as beds and sofas whilst their bones are developing. It’s easier said than done but try to pick them up as often as you can to prevent them from jumping. Avoid taking your pup for long runs until they’re fully-grown, remember that larger dogs take more time for their bones to develop.
Average weight of breeds.
Here’s a guide of the average weights of dog breeds, ranging from toy to giant…
Toy breed: Toy Poodle 3-6 kg
Small breed: Jack Russell Terrier 6-8 kg
Medium breed: Beagle 9-10 kg (female) 10-11 kg (male)
Large breed: German Shepherd 22-32 kg (female) 30-40 kg (male)
Giant breed: Great Dane 45-59 kg (female) 54-90 kg (male)
Become a breeder partner.
It’s important for puppies to grow mentally as well as physically. Do you have a litter of pups that you want to be socialised through our puppy therapy events? Your pups will be exposed to many new scents, sights and sounds whilst befriending hundreds of hoomans along the way in a safe environment. Contact us today to find out more about the process of becoming a breeder partner with us; we’d love to work with you and your wonderful pups. Additionally, you can keep up with our latest tips and tricks by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.