Getting a new pup can be exciting! But it’s essential to adopt a puppy that will fit your home, lifestyle, and size of the family. It’s a good idea that you consult a puppy weight chart first so you can get a good idea what to expect as your cute, little furball grows up.
We get plenty of questions asking, “How fast do puppies grow per week?” or “Can you tell how big a puppy will get?”
As you read along, you’ll find stages of puppy growth covered week by week and month by month, followed by a convenient age to weight chart depending on toy, small, medium, large, and giant breed categories.
As the puppy ages, there are certain puppy development key milestones that he will reach on his way to adulthood. We are going to cover the puppy growth starting by week up to 3 months, and then by month up to 9 months and beyond.
The average puppy spends about 9 weeks developing inside of the mother’s dog womb. The mother contains a womb or uterus, that includes two long tubes, and the puppies develop in a row beside each tube slightly similar to a pod.
The puppies are attached to their mother by a placenta and that gives all the nutrients they need for a couple of weeks while in the development stage.
In the beginning, the puppies have a large amount of room to move but they grow quick and as the time for delivery draws closer, they are packed in quite close together.
The puppy is born wholly furred yet the eyes and ears remain closed therefore he will not be able to see or hear during the first week after birth. The front feet of the puppy is strong and durable enough so he can drag himself towards his mother before he can walk.
If he is feeling uncomfortable and suddenly cries, his mother will react by touching him towards her and licking her puppy for reassurance.
The puppy cannot manage his body temperature and he will need his mother's heat or an artificial heat source to properly maintain his body temperature.
If the puppy will be docked, this strategy should take place within a couple of days for the docking procedure to be successful. In the first seven to ten days of the puppy’s life.
The development stages transition very quick and the end of the first week will double his birth weight.
In the case that your newborn puppy won't nurse from the mother, is exceptionally small, abandoned, orphaned, or rejected - you will have to nurse the puppy yourself to ensure he gets all of the nutrients he needs during these critical stages. This can be done by Hand Feeding Pets with a Silicone Tipped Soft Syringe.
Throughout this week, the puppy's eyes will begin to open. However, he probably still won’t be able to see completely. His forelegs will have grown stronger and he will sustainably continue to grow faster, adding as much as up to 5-10% more of his body weight.
The puppy's mother is continuously attentive during these stages of puppy development, only departing from her babies to eat or for toiletry reasons. For the pups, the mother will lick the puppy’s bottom to clean up any bowel or bladder accident. There is no need to clean up after the puppy by this time.
The breeder, or owner, will start to carry the puppies more to get them accustomed to human contact.
Throughout this initial week, a lot will occur as the puppies begin to exhibit their personalities for the first time. Your puppy will also be able to stand and sit for the first time towards the end of the third week. The ears will be opened completely, and it is during this week that puppies interact with each other - growling, socialization, and wagging tails are often developed at this age.
The puppy can now regulate his body temperature more efficiently and will begin to prepare his teeth for weaning. The front, canines, and incisors are cut first and he should be able to have his first taste of puppy food (in tiny, introductory amounts!)
This is the week that puppies begin to become extremely active on their legs and play vigorously with one another. They also begin to roam away from the initial sleeping area when nature calls to empty their bladder and bowels. They may also attempt to climb out of the whelping box and want to frequently explore their surroundings.
The puppies’ mother will start to take more time relaxing away from the puppies. She will slowly stop cleaning after the pups, and you will now have the joyful responsibility to take up after her.
Your puppy will begin to naturally cut his back teeth and will get most of his nourishment from puppy food, as he begins to wean. It is also completely normal and a natural process if the mother regurgitates her dinner for her puppies.
By this time your puppy can now really enjoy running and playing. He will most likely be very noisy, developing his bark playing with other puppies and learning how to bite. The mother will usually teach him not to bite too hard.
By the end of the 6th week, the puppy entirely weans and should be eating 5-6 small meals of puppy food each day. The puppy may still try to suckle milk from his mother but it isn't necessary at this age and the mother may be reluctant to continue feeding at this age.
At about 7 weeks old the puppy may begin to exhibit signs of fearfulness such as jumping or becoming startled of unfamiliar sounds and sights.
This is about a good time to begin considering protecting your puppy naturally from fleas. We recommend natural flea products because most flea products on the market contain harsh chemicals which may harm your pet, especially at a young age! Check out this blog on Why You Need to Protect your Puppy from Fleas Naturally.
If your puppy will be rehomed, this is about the most ideal time to do so. He is now at the peak of his puppy life and ready to explore his new home and life. If your puppy will be staying with you, get ready for a super fun new member of the family as you watch your puppy pass through puppyhood and into doghood!
We’ll now cover the growth development of a puppy month by month, starting from three months up to eight months.
This month is the development period where puppies will learn to become fearful and will need to be thoroughly socialized. This is also the ideal time to begin house training, potty training, puppy training, bite training, and puppy socialization.
A puppy learns best at this age and is also at the peak of it’s learning. Pet owners should also begin preparing your puppy to get his first vaccinations during this month. An average puppy also typically can drop down to 3 meals a day at about the end of the third month.
Starting from the 3rd month up until the 6th month, a puppy also begins to learn to rank regarding dominance and submission, much like in elementary school for a human child who learns the difference between the principal, teacher, student, and playmate.
At about four months old, a puppy begins to lose the typical puppy look and begins to resemble a similar, mini version of their adult selves. This age is another excellent time to continue reinforcing the training you may have begun to teach when at the 3-month mark and is still an ideal time to continue teaching him new things.
Puppies at this age can go on short walks now, but even some everyday old puppy playtime such as fetch or socializing with other pups is sufficient enough. During this time, it’s also a good idea to keep your pup close to you when outdoors and during a walk, as puppies begin to become less dependent upon their pet parents.
It’s a great idea to begin practicing recall at this age and to heavily reinforce good behavior each time he comes to you when called. It will take some time to practice this, but it will be worth it as he begins to enter the “teenage” stage of puppy growth development. You can read more about How to Train your Dog here.
Your pup may still be chewing a biting a lot during this month, too, due to his baby teeth. You can give him some dog toys or a frozen Kong toy to keep him preoccupied.
At this age, toy and small dogs will have almost completed their growth. Other larger breeds such as a German Shepherd, Retriever, or Spaniel will have reached about ⅔ of his adult weight by this age. Great Danes and other larger breeds should ideally have reached about half of their adult weight.
Female dogs may experience their first heat during this month - be sure to observe a female pup closely during this time, as it is possible for a female pup to become sexually mature, however, can cause complications as she is still not considered a fully grown dog at this age.
Don’t forget to continue practicing recall at this age and to enforce positive behavior and rewards each time he comes when called.
By the 7th month, your puppy should have all 42 of his adult teeth and look very much like a miniature adult. He should also be able to maintain two full meals per day.
By this time, a puppy will have a bountiful of sex hormones in his system, unless you have had your puppy neutered.
Remember to keep practicing recall behavior to keep his obedience skills spot on. Frequent walks also lessen the urge of curiosity in your dog for each walk taken.
By this age, your pup is well on his way to adult doghood. Females should usually be neutered once their first season is complete. Pups aged at one year and above can now begin taking part in much more strenuous activity and sports.
Every fur parent wants to assure that their little pup is growing and weighing just right. Now, not all puppies are the same, especially if you compare a Chihuahua to a St. Bernard! This 2004 study shows Body-Weight Changes during Growth in Puppies of Different Breeds. Here’s a handy dog weight chart for the toy, small, medium, large, and giant breeds so you can quickly check if your puppy is on the right track concerning ideal weight.
Physical maturity is when a puppy reaches their adult height, depending on their breed. Smaller breeds generally are considered fully grown at about 12 months of age. Larger breeds can take up to a year or two to finish growing.
Mental maturity is when our puppies officially become...well, dogs! This type of maturity takes time to develop. Mental maturity won’t happen overnight, but it’s a process that you will gradually begin to notice as he begins to pass through what we could consider the equivalent of the “teenage” phase in humans.
You might find your pup stepping out of boundaries and taking risks, and often getting into trouble. But there will be a fine line where he will become an adult and settle down.
There is no specific age period as to when a puppy will officially become an adult, but some signs indicating mental and emotional maturity are:
Our cute little puppies and fluffs of furball eventually have to grow up sometimes, and this brings us to sexual maturity. Unlike humans, dogs don’t get acne (lucky them!), but they do experience hormonal changes that will affect their behavior.
Sexual maturity is different for males and females and it’s important to take note of these changes. Sexual maturity is dependent upon size and breed. Typically, sexually maturity begins in puppies at six to nine months of age.
When females are sexually mature, they will go into heat twice a year. During proestrus or the start of a female’s heat, the vulva will swell and develop some vaginal discharge for about 7 to 10 days.
Female pups can experience sexual maturity even before they become adults during their first heat, so if your female has not yet been spayed, be sure to keep a close eye on her as complications can develop for a sexually matured puppy.
Unlike females, males can become sexually active once they have fully physically developed - around the age of 12 - 15 months.
The first signs of a sexually matured male marking their territory, mounting, or aggressive behavior such as the urge to roam.
Some pet parents often wonder if their dog is underweight, overweight, or at their ideal weight. Having an ideal weight for your pet is not only healthy, but it also allows him to live a healthy and active lifestyle. Some factors that determine your pet’s weight, and that includes:
But how can you tell if your pup is at a healthy weight without frequent trips to the vet and having different numbers scaled at you?
If you can see the ribs of your puppy, or dog, the chances are he is underweight. Sometimes a pup with a thick coat can be awkward to determine if he’s underweight at a glance.
You can also place both of your thumbs on your pup’s spine and have the opening of your hands on the rib cage. If you can distinctly feel the rib bones and very little fat, chances are he may need an extra meal added to his diet.
If you follow the same procedure as above and find that you cannot see your dog’s ribs, or can’t feel them, chances are he is overweight and exercise should be implemented or lessen his meal proportions to help him get back onto the right track to an ideal weight. This is also noticeable if his waist is slightly larger than where his ribs meet.
A dog is generally at an ideal weight if:
After the birth of a newly born puppy, it can take about two weeks before they start to open their eyes. The first week after a puppy is born, they are entirely blind.
The eyes of a puppy are entirely open around the second week. During this time, it is essential that you carefully observe your puppy and make sure that he stays safe from any dangerous objects or hazards that could harm him.
The average puppy begins his first steps to walking at around the third week. You may notice that he begins to explore and crawl by the end of the second-third week after a puppy is born.
The strength in their legs begins to build at around the third and fourth week, where your puppy should be able to walk freely.
A lot of fur parents often wonder, “When should I start to socialize my puppy?” There are many different expert views on this, but we know that a puppy is at the peak of the learning process when they are at about their 3 months initial period.
It is during this time that it is best to ease in socialization for your pup towards humans and other pets. When a puppy is isolated, they often grow into anxious habits, especially when meeting new people, other pets, or even children.
You will want to gradually teach your puppy to be comfortable around social situations to avoid aggressive behaviors, social anxiety, and other obstacles that might affect his social growth as he ages.
Dog neutering is the process of surgically preventing dogs from reproducing. Neutering your pet reduces the stress often developed over time when exposed to intact (unneutered or unspayed) pets, reduces the risk of certain cancers, and significantly reduces aggressive behavior when a puppy becomes an adult.
While neutering can slightly affect a dog’s physical growth, there are no noticeable disadvantages to the affected growth aspect.
There are a few factors that influence the growth of a dog, including:
A newborn puppy can sleep up to 20-22 hours a day, while a 12-week old puppy can sleep anywhere from 18-20 hours a day. As a puppy matures, he will sleep less, but even a 3-month old puppy can still sleep up to 15 hours a day!
The vet will your puppy’s vitals and check for evidence of intestinal parasites, as well as external parasites. Typically, depending on the age of your puppy and his health history, a vaccine will typically be administered as well as flea and tick preventatives.
During the first 3 months of your puppy’s life, you should begin to socialize him with as many people, places, and different experiences as possible - however, it is much advised to avoid bringing him in contact with other outside dogs until he is fully vaccinated.
Parvo is a severe and life-threatening disease if your pup is exposed to it without the proper vaccinations.