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Puppy Growth

A Guide To Newborn Puppy Growth and Development

Newborn dogs grow quickly, and it’s exciting to see what each stage of development brings for your puppy. Growth rates vary depending on breed, as well as factors like diet and overall health. Smaller breeds of dogs are usually considered adult at around one year old. It can take up to two years for some larger breeds to reach maturity.

There are many milestones that will occur at approximately the same time period for all new pups, regardless of size or breed.

  • In the first several days after they are born, puppies are deaf and blind. They don’t have teeth, and are dependent on their mother (or a surrogate) for survival. Like human babies, newborn pups will sleep for most of the day.
  • After a couple of weeks, puppies open their eyes – along with their ears shortly thereafter. Teeth will begin to poke through the gums around this time as well.
  • Healthy puppies will begin to yipe, growl, and play around a bit with siblings before they are one month old.
  • At around 1-2 months of age, puppies become more aware of those around them. A pup of this age will begin to interact with its mother, its brothers and sisters, and its keepers. A puppy learns a lot from its mother and siblings during this time, and it’s highly recommended that puppies not be separated from the mother dog before two months of age.
  • If you’re got a whole litter, you’ll notice the pups’ different personalities starting to emerge at around one or two months. Some will try to escape their enclosure, ready to take on the world. Others might hang back with their mother as long as possible, preferring to cuddle and sleep.
  • At two months, pups have generally been weaned off of their mother’s milk and can eat commercial puppy food. Try wetting it down the first few times you give it to them. They should also be able to walk and run, play heartily, and bark.
  • Once a pup has left its mother’s side at around two months old, it’s time to begin basic training in manners and commands. Puppy training classes can really help to teach young dogs good behaviors that they will continue throughout their lives.
  • At about three months old, a pup will begin to chew on everything it’s allowed to. This often includes parts of its body, and yours too! At this stage in puppy growth, you can gently teach your dog not to bite. Dogs need to learn early that it’s not appropriate to bite or chew on people!
  • Puppies grow rapidly. This is one of the many reasons why it’s very important to select your breed carefully. Certain breeds and mixes are simply not suited for some types of homes or environments. For instance, a small apartment with a patio might be sufficient for housing a smaller breed, but a large dog would do better in a place with a yard to run in. Dogs living in unsuitable environments tend to get frustrated and exhibit bad behaviors, like going to the bathroom inside and chewing on furniture.
  • If you think your puppy might not be growing quickly enough or isn’t displaying the behaviors and abilities it should for its age, see your vet right away. Along with other causes, puppy growth can be affected by certain medical conditions, malnourishment, and vitamin deficiency. Monitoring your pup’s growth patterns and tracking developmental milestones is a great way to stay on top of any issues that may come up.