When you raise a puppy, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it grows. This is because the young dog is in its main growth phase from the third to the seventh month. This article will tell you everything you need to know about dog growth.
Depending on the breed and size of the puppy, growth takes place in phases of different lengths. While small dog breeds are fully grown after eight months, it can take up to two years for very large breeds. A dog’s growth chart shows how fast it should ideally grow and how much weight it should gain. With the help of such dog growth curves, the veterinarian checks whether he is developing healthily according to his age.
Why healthy growth is so important
Two factors are decisive for healthy growth: on the one hand, your dog should have the right weight in order to develop optimally, on the other hand, the animal may only be physically exercised to the extent that the skeleton of the young dog and its muscles are not overstrained. The puppy develops a lot of muscle mass, especially in the first few months of life. At the same time, the skeleton of the animal is still very delicate. For this reason, it is important that you take care of the animal during this growth phase and, for example, hold it in your arms when climbing stairs. Long walks are also taboo in the first few months, not to mention bike rides. As a rule of thumb, the puppy should go for five minutes at a time for a month of life.
Furthermore, a balanced and healthy diet is essential for the healthy growth of a puppy. Too much food can cause the dog to grow too quickly, which can have serious physical consequences that may be irreversible.
Puppy growth: a balanced diet and ideal weight
Since puppies are still growing, they only look overweight in extreme cases. This is because when the young dog overfeeds, the body puts the excess energy into growth. This in turn causes the puppy to grow too fast. However, growing too quickly prevents healthy joint and skeletal development. Dogs of large dog breeds in particular are often affected by this phenomenon. If dogs are usually unknowingly overfed, they put on weight because they grow faster, but you don’t see it. This is why there are growth charts for dogs. That is why the vet weighs your dog regularly and compares the values determined with the ideal curve for the dog breed.
Possible consequential damage from growing too quickly
Overfeeding causes the skeleton to grow too quickly and this can lead to physical defects. For example, cartilage defects or uneven bone growth can occur. Hip dysplasia can also be promoted by excessive feeding.
Use the dog’s growth curve to reveal nutritional errors
If there are irregularities in the growth curve, it is best to consult your veterinarian. Perhaps you were fooled by your pup’s slim build and fed a little more than the food packet said? You may also have forgotten to subtract the number of treats from the total amount of food. The same applies to the use of a dummy that is filled with normal dog food for training, but the amount of which was not added to the daily food ration either. If you (or your veterinarian) regularly compare your pet’s development with a puppy growth chart, you can avoid such feeding mistakes.