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Almost all pet parents hope that their little ball of fur remains a puppy forever. Unfortunately, puppies grow up – and they grow up fast! The puppy growing stages are usually determined by the kind of breed. Having a purebred dog makes it easier for owners to know whether their dog is generally growing at the right speed and whether they weigh too little or too much for their age. But in general, when does a puppy stop growing?
If you have mixed breed puppies, it can be a little hard to know whether they are developing or reaching their milestones at an average speed. Predicting the mature size is also difficult. These factors may differ since both pedigree of each parent may influence the development and other characteristics of the puppy.
Factors that can Influence Puppy Growth Stages
Stages of puppy growth vary according to factors such as the following:
- Pedigree or Genetic Differences
Small breeds and large breeds mature at a different speed. Toy breeds and teacup puppies such as Pomeranians, Toy Poodles, and Chihuahuas reach their full size at 8 to 12 months, while medium breeds like Bulldogs, Corgis, and Beagles also follow the same growth pace.
Large breed dogs such as Labrador and Golden retrievers reach full maturity and weight at around 10 to 16 months. For giant breed dogs such as Newfoundlands, Great Danes, and Saint Bernards, they may continue to grow even up to 18 months of age.
For mixed breeds, size and weight may be a little less confusing to predict if you know the pedigree of both parents. The growth and development of a mongrel are probably the hardest one to estimate since you do not know the history and lineage of the dog.
You can only make rough guesses based on the size of the puppy at a current stage. You can double the height and weight at around 3 to 4 months old to estimate the size and weight to calculate the puppy’s maximum full grown size at 12 months or 1 year. In general, puppies are considered an adult when they reach 12 months or one year old.
Regardless of the pedigree, puppies generally grow and mature for 12 months until they reach adulthood.
- Health and Nutrition
Health and nutrition also play a significant role in the growth and development of a puppy. For optimal growth, pet parents should see to it that their puppies are well-fed, have proper exercise and training, and frequent vet visit to ensure they are in tip-top condition.
Feed your puppy with a high-quality, nutrient-dense puppy food that is high in protein content and other essential vitamins and minerals. You may need to select puppy food carefully and have it tailored to the needs of your puppy.
For instance, choose the best puppy food specially formulated for large breed puppies instead of just plain puppy food. Doing so can supply your puppy with all the essential nutrients the puppy needs for their growing body. It also helps boost energy that your puppy needs to perform routines and activities every day.
Active exercise is essential in the development of bones and building up of muscles. Not only that, but it will also make your puppy happier and more open to learning.
Frequent vet visits ensure that your puppy is healthy and their shots updated, or for pet owners to know what to do if the puppy has a particular condition or special needs.
Factors that Can Stunt the Growth of Your Puppy
If there are factors that can help boost your puppy’s growth and development, there are also factors that can stunt their growth. According to PetMD, some of these factors include:
- Worm Infection – This is probably the most common cause of a puppy’s stunted growth. Intestinal worms steal nutrients from the puppy, which causes stunted growth, poor coat, disproportioned body (big pot belly), and gastrointestinal issues. Fortunately, once the puppy is free from worms, his body will be able to recover and continue growing.
- Genetic Diseases – Some breeds are predisposed to genetic diseases that can stunt their growth. One good example is pituitary dwarfism that affects mostly breeds like Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds. However, conditions like this are very rare.
Myths About Growth and Development of Puppies
Most pet owners believe that malnutrition, spaying and neutering, strenuous activities, and passive lifestyle also influence the growth and development of puppies. The fact is malnutrition and inactive lifestyle may only affect the health of the puppies, not stunt their growth. These unhealthy habits may cause brittle bones, undeveloped or fat muscles instead of lean muscles, poor coat, lethargy, and other health conditions.
If a passive lifestyle brings about numerous health issues, strenuous activities can also affect your puppy’s health but not contribute to their growth. Excessive exercise may damage bones, predisposing your beloved pooch to a bone, joints, and muscles problems later in life.
Spaying and neutering have proven health benefits, but will not affect the growth and development of puppies. It is best not to believe these myths and jump to conclusions quickly. If you are unsure, it is better to consult with your veterinarian.
When is a puppy full grown?
There is no exact science when it comes to knowing the maximum height and weight of a dog regardless of the breed. The muscles, tissues, and overall built of puppies may continue to grow and bulk up throughout their life, especially if they are adequately fed with the right dog food and have an active lifestyle.
It is best to remember that specific factors can alter the growth of your puppy. In general, puppies will be able to surpass different milestones in one year. They will be able to walk after a few weeks of birth, they will learn how to play and socialize, and they will pile on the pounds and double their height.
Do not believe in myths and just do everything you can to keep your puppy healthy and happy. All pet owners would agree that the size and height of their dogs don’t really matter because they will always remain as puppies to them. So, to answer your question, “When does a puppy stop growing?” When they begin to show adult traits. But don’t worry. They’ll always be your fur babies.