What is a Healthy Puppy Weight?
Every puppy is different and there is a significant difference between the teacup and giant breed dogs. There is not a puppy weight chart that can cover them all. As with humans, siblings will be different in size, personality and growth rate. A healthy puppy generally grows at a predictable rate based on breed size. Toy and miniature breeds experience most growth between birth and 11 weeks of age. It slows down after that, usually reaching maturity between 8-12 months. Large and giant breeds grow very fast. Most growth happens between birth and five months of age maturing between 18-24 months. Continue reading to find questions answered by Experts.
Choosing a Feeding Method
There are two main feeding methods and each have their own pros and cons. The first method is called free feeding. This involves filling a bowl of dry food and leaving it out for your pet. The advantages are:
- You will not have to worry about being home in time to feed your pet. This is great for people with busy schedules.
- Most times, your pet will feel more comfortable being fed this way because it is there whenever they want it.
- Free feeding can serve multiple dogs at once.
Disadvantages of free feeding are:
- This can be a problem for a multiple dog household. If one pet hoards or bullies the others, they will not have a turn at the food bowl.
- There is a risk of the dog becoming overweight from eating too much. Some animals are known for eating past being full.
The second method is scheduled/portion controlled feeding. If you have a schedule that allows you to be home at meal time, this method would work well. It is the healthier way to feed your dog since it limits the amount of food your dog is taking in at each meal. You can either fill the bowl and take it away after a reasonable amount of time, or you can measure out a portion of food and leave it out.
Advantages of scheduled feeding include:
- Puppies that are placed on a diet benefit from scheduled feeding.
- This works well for puppies who need to be given medicine mixed with their food.
- Measured and scheduled feeding will help you monitor your dog’s eating habits.
- You can use this time to bond with your pet.
A disadvantage to scheduled feeding is that you will need to feed your pet multiple times a day. This can be challenging when caring for puppies, who need to eat smaller and more frequent meals than adults.
Your veterinarian can help you decide which method works for you and your pet. Age and breed are just a couple things to consider when making this decision. Keep in mind not to base your decision solely off of convenience, but rather the long-term health of your dog.
Feeding Newborn Puppies
Puppies generally nurse at least every two hours for the first week of their life. After this period of time, they can begin the transition from nursing to eating solid food. To make the transition, soak a high-quality dry puppy food with water and milk replacer and blend it. This can be fed several times a day. The amount of milk replacer can be gradually decreased until the puppy is eating dry food by 7-8 weeks of age.
During a pup’s first weeks of life, their body weight may double or triple by gaining 10-15% of birth weight daily. If you are caring for an orphan puppy, it is important to contact your veterinarian for guidance on the proper way to bottle-feed newborns.
Providing your puppy with many opportunities for exercise will help him maintain a healthy weight. Until your puppy reaches 18 months of age, it is a good idea to let your pet play on his own. Listen to him when he tells you he is ready to rest by laying down and/or showing fatigue. Training your puppy to work on heeling and walking on a leash are also good sources of exercise.