How do dogs grow up and when do they stop growing?

April 13, 2012

How big will this puppy get? When will this dog stop to grow? These are the most common questions of dog owners who have chosen a puppy without knowing the breed characteristics. It would really be easy to get carried away when choosing a puppy. Who can ever resist an adorable and cuddly bundle of fur? However, prospective owners would need to consider the fact that the little puppy could grow into a real big dog that would not fit in a cramp apartment. The growth rate of a dog is fast. After a year or two the tiny cute puppy would be a massive dog that can break priceless vases with a swish of its tail and one that can inadvertently hurt the baby. It is therefore imperative that before a puppy is chosen. Prospective owners have to do thorough research on the breed they intend to get.

Different breeds have different growth rates. Also dogs at different age would have different rates of growing. However, all breeds would generally have the same growth timeline. Dogs have different personalities as well. As such, some breeds would be less playful and boisterous when they mature while others will retain the puppy-like temperament throughout their life time. Dog growth rate, compared to humans is fast. Large breeds mature much later than small breeds. Generally, growth spurt of small breeds will level off after the first birthday. This indicates the end of puppy growth although the dog could continue gaining weight, the size of the body will relatively remain the same. Giant breeds mature slowly. It would take 2 years or more for these large dogs to gain full maturity.

When a puppy is born it is both blind and deaf. The puppies are also toothless. Eyes will still be closed and the ears would be plastered to the head and seem to be underdeveloped. For the first 3 or 4 days, the puppies would be wiggly and would whimper a lot especially when cold, hungry or when it has crawled away from its mother. During this stage the puppies would sleep a lot and would be totally dependent on the mother for nourishment and comfort. At about 2 weeks old, the puppies would be more mobile and would walk with more stability. The puppy will begin to see, smell and hear sounds. At three weeks, the pups can be started on soft and moist puppy food. Puppies are now starting to play with its littermates. Milk teeth will appear at 3 to 7 weeks old. Soft food can be given regularly as during this time the mother will spend more time away from the litter. Eight week old puppies can now be separated from the mother. Puppies must be feed puppy food until the first birthday as this is the main growth phase of the dog. Adult dog food that is not balanced for proper growth is not recommended during the main growth phase. Exercise would be beneficial to the growing dog but it has to be moderate. Excessive exercises must be avoided especially for large breeds as this could injuries on the developing bones and joints.

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