Puppies grow up quickly. It seems like one minute they fit in your lap, and the next, they are taking up half the couch. While healthy growth is normal, if they grow up too fast or too slow, they could develop serious health issues. Read on to learn more about how to prevent these issues and ensure a healthy growth rate for your puppy.
Small dogs, like Chihuahuas and miniature poodles, develop more quickly than larger ones like Great Pyrenees or Great Danes. While smaller dogs are considered adults at 1 year old, larger ones aren’t fully grown until around 2 years old. It’s completely normal for a large or giant breed puppy to take twice as long to mature into an adult dog as a smaller one.
Puppy Growing up Too Fast
The dogs who are most susceptible to problems with rapid growth are large and giant breeds. If you feed large dogs food that is too rich in calcium and calories as puppies, their bones and joints will develop too quickly.
When a puppy develops too fast, that rapid growth puts a strain on their bones and joints, possibly leading to problems like:
Puppy Growing up Too Slow
If puppies don’t get enough calories, their growth will be stunted due to malnutrition. Feeding them puppy food appropriate to their size in the amounts recommended by your veterinarian should ensure your puppy won’t grow up too slowly. For picky eaters, see if they prefer a different flavor of food or try warming it for a few seconds in the microwave before serving it.
Even with proper nutrition, if your dog is infected with parasites, such as hookworms or roundworms, their growth could slow. Intestinal parasites deplete your dog’s nutritional intake. That’s why regular worming treatments with your veterinarian are recommended to prevent these types of issues.
Supporting Healthy Puppy Growth
When feeding your puppy, choose a high-quality diet that is appropriate for their size. Smaller breeds should be fed puppy-specific food rich in calories to support faster growth. Larger breeds should be fed slow growth or large breed puppy food that is lower in calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, fat, and calories than traditional puppy food. Be sure to read the label carefully and choose a food that meets the nutritional needs of your puppy.