Monitoring a Healthy Weight for Your Puppy
Everyone delights in seeing a cute chubby puppy. But how can you tell if your pup has crossed the line between being a cute bundle of tubbiness or being at risk for future obesity? Keep reading to learn ways to monitor your puppies weight gain as well as tips for determining how heavy your dog should be once they are fully grown.
What Does Normal Puppy Weight Gain Look Like?
Ideally, a puppy should begin gaining weight from the day they are born, but knowing how much weight a puppy should gain per week can be hard to nail down. Typically, a puppy should gain between 10-15% of their birth weight each day. A simple rule of thumb is to expect your puppy to gain about 5 ounces per week for small breeds and 2.5 pounds a week for large breeds. Any additional puppy weight gain could be setting your pooch up for future obesity.
For some pet parents, figuring out how to weigh their puppy can feel like a mystery. It’s not like you can just throw them on your bathroom scale, right? Here are a few visual cues that can help you monitor your puppy’s weight gain and catch any early signs of obesity.
- Examine your puppy from the side. More often than not, their belly should not hang lower than their chest. That being said, their ribs should not be visible, either. Exposed ribs could indicate that your puppy is underweight and will need to put on some additional padding.
- While you are there, reach out and gently feel around those ribs. This section of your puppy’s body should feel slightly padded, but not like they have a large coat of fat burying their ribcage. This step is especially important for dogs with thick coats that can hide weight problems. Similar to exposed ribs possibly being a sign of weight issues, buried ribs that are hard to feel can also indicate health problems.
- Lastly, look at your pup from above. Ideally, they should have a visible “waistline.” Their hips shouldn’t protrude sharply, but they shouldn’t be oval-shaped, either. If they are, the pace of their puppy weight gain may be too much, and they will need to slow down to get to a happy and healthy weight.
If your puppy is failing to lose or gain weight at an appropriate pace, they should be checked by a veterinarian. They may be suffering from an underlying condition that is impacting their ability to maintain a safe and healthy weight.
How Heavy Should Your Dog Be?
The best thing you can do as a pet parent to keep your pup healthy is to find out your dog’s ideal weight range and help them maintain that weight. Why? There are several reasons why it is important to help your pooch sustain a healthy weight:
- Dogs that stay within their ideal weight range can extend their lifespan.
- Overweight dogs can experience long-term health issues.
- Underweight dogs may experience underlying health conditions.
To determine your dog’s ideal weight range, there are a few things to consider. First is breed. Even though all dogs are unique, every breed has a general height and weight average that can help you predict how big your dog will be when fully grown. Where can you find this information? Our Dog Breed Library includes the average height and weight of over 200 different dog breeds!
Another factor to help you determine how big your dog will be is their sex. Across breeds, male dogs tend to be a little larger than their female counterparts. So, if you have a male and female puppy at the same time, it won’t be uncommon for your male pup to be larger than their female companion.
When Do Dogs Have Growth Spurts?
Puppies will normally experience their largest growth spurts at varying points, depending on the breed size. For small breeds like Chihuahuas, expect growth spurts between birth and 11 weeks of age. Medium size dogs like Basset Hounds will grow most quickly between birth and 16 weeks. And large breed dogs like Mastiffs tend to have extended growth spurts from birth to 4-5 months.
This is all to say that you can expect normal growth spurts and shouldn’t be alarmed by substantial puppy weight gains during those periods. Remember, your puppy should gain 10-15% of their birth weight every day in the early stages of their life.
If your puppy seems to be gaining too much or too little weight, you may want to re-think their diet. A super premium puppy food like Bil-Jac can make a world of difference in helping maintain a weight that’s appropriate and healthy for your furry little friend. Luckily, Bil-Jac has specially formulated options for every size dog at every stage of life, including:
If you have a new puppy at home, don’t forget to Sign Up for the Puppy Club! As a Puppy Club member, you’ll receive exclusive puppy information to help you raise a happy and healthy best friend!