Not many things are as much fun as a puppy. It’s lovely seeing a baby dog thrive and grow into a well-adjusted adult animal who’s a valuable, loyal member of the family. A dog is usually classed as a puppy from birth to a year old, but of course it depends on the size and the breed, and how quickly they develop. Here’s what you need to know about puppy development.

Puppy growth – Giving your puppy a healthy start

Just like with humans, the first year of puppy growth sets your dog up for the rest of their life. A lot goes on throughout that vital first twelve months, a time that sees a dog transform from a tiny, helpless bundle that can’t see or hear to an energetic, happy adult animal.

This dramatic change relies a lot on the food you give your pup – they need a good quality, nutritionally balanced diet, and it’s really important to provide the right amount of energy to match their growth rate and puppy development stage.

When he or she is fed properly, given lots of love and exercised in the right ways, your puppy will quickly form strong and healthy muscles, a well-developed digestive tract, a good circulatory and respiratory system, a powerful immune system and nice, healthy skin.

Your essential monthly guides to puppy development

Take a look through our month by month guides for everything you need to know about a puppy’s development during that all-important first year.

Month 1 – In the first four weeks puppies need their mums to provide warmth and food. Their eyes don’t open until around week three and they don’t have teeth yet! Find out more about your pup’s first month here.

Month 2 – By week five your pup will probably be starting to walk, and they’re hilariously wobbly. They still need to spend most of their time with their mum and siblings, though. Here’s more about puppy development in month two.

Month 3 – This month a puppy is ready to leave their mum and go to a new home. As you can imagine, everything is a bit scary for them at first. Here’s what you need to know about puppy development during month three of a pup’s life.

Month 4 – In month four your pup will start to develop lovely, sharp teeth… and they start to hit their doggie teens, which means they start pushing the boundaries to find out what the rules are. Here’s some essential information about puppy development during month four.

Month 5 – Congratulations! Your dog is officially a teenager, they’re learning incredibly fast and they’ve lost that cute puppy fat, getting longer and slimmer and taller. Here are some handy tips about puppy development, behaviour and needs in month five.

Month 6 – Training has kicked in and your little dog is learning all sorts of cool new stuff. It’s about time they learned how to enjoy travelling in a car, and it’s great fun teaching them. Here’s some guidance about what to expect from your puppy’s development during month six .

Month 7 – It’s time to kick off a weekly health check routine, including checking those lovely new teeth! And best of all, this month you can start socialising your pup with other dogs. Here’s what you need to know.

Month 8 – One of the best ways to train a puppy is through play. It’s so much easier to learn when it’s fun! Your little dog is still in their teens and absorbing new experiences like a sponge. Here are some things to look out for in your puppy’s development during month 8.

Month 9 to 11 – Now you’re looking at a relatively mature dog, and neutering is on the cards unless you want them to breed. They’ll be more or less their full height and adult weight, and a bit rebellious when training. Find out more here.

Month 12 onwards – At this point you pup will be nearing maturity. As with humans, puppy development into adulthood is individual to each dog. As a rule, little dogs tend to mature earlier, while big dogs probably have a few months to go. The main thing to consider at this stage is moving off puppy food and onto adult dog food. Read on….

Puppy growth chart and feeding age chart

Why not take a look at our simple Puppy Growth Chart, designed to help you track your puppy’s development and see when they qualify as an adult? You can also click here to view our optimum feeding age chart, which’ll help you figure out what kind of food they need at what age.

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