When we decide to share life with a dog, it is easy for us to have doubts about its final size, in case its growth stage has not concluded, especially if we are facing a puppy.
Whether it is a crossbreed dog or a breed dog, knowing until what age it will continue to grow is essential, among many things, to give it a diet adapted to its needs. Let’s see the tricks to find out.
Index of contents
- 1 How to determine the age of a dog
- 2 Denture wear
- 3 Growth patterns
- 3.1 Small dogs
- 3.2 Medium dogs
- 3.3 Big dogs
- 3.4 Adequate growth
How to determine the age of a dog
First of all, to find out if a dog whose unknown history is going to continue growing we can look at its teeth, because they will provide us with valuable information on younger animals.
Puppies are usually born toothless and they begin to emerge around 2-3 weeks of age. These milk teeth or deciduous teeth, which are sharper and smaller, like those of humans, fall between 3-7 months of age, being replaced by the definitive ones.
Therefore, the presence of baby teeth, their absence or the change to adult teeth will tell us quite accurately the age of a dog, which, in turn, will give us information about the growth phase in the one found.
The incisors of dogs have edges, called cusps, that wear out with age. The progression of this wear helps us to calculate the dog’s age with relative reliability up to approximately 6 years.
From that age on attrition factors such as feeding or genetics will intervene, which means that we can find young animals with very bad teeth, while others, with more than 10 years, maintain the cusps. Therefore, this criterion is not reliable.
If by observing the teeth we conclude that we are dealing with a young animal, to know how long it will grow we will have to take into account its growth pattern, determined by its size.
Thus, there will be differences between small, medium and large or very large dogs, since they do not follow the same pattern a chihuahua that a St. Bernard dog. At birth, the dogs of smaller breeds can weigh about 150 grams, while the largest will reach 600, which means a very small difference in weight compared to what will occur when these dogs are adults.
Let’s think again about a chihuahua that will not reach a kilo in front of a San Bernardo that can reach 90. It should also be borne in mind that males are usually slightly larger than females.
Smaller breed or crossbreed dogs grow rapidly up to approximately 3 months of age, when they would reach half their adult weight.
From there they will continue to grow more slowly until 6 months, more or less, which usually coincides with their sexual maturity. From there they could still get fat but we would already consider that we are facing its final size.
Thus, if we adopt a puppy that only grows up to 3 months we can think that it will be small.
We could include in this group dogs that as adults will weigh between 8-10 kilos and up to about 25. As in the smallest ones, at the beginning of their life growth will be very fast, approximately, in this case , until 6-8 months, when they can also start to go into heat.
Once they reach sexual maturity, they will be practically their adult size, although they can still gain weight and grow up to 12 or even 18 months.
This may suggest that dogs spayed before their first heat fatten by the operation when the increase comes because they have not yet finished growing.
Like all dogs, they will grow rapidly early in life, but unlike smaller dogs, their growth can last up to 12-18 months and even 24 or more in giant breeds such as mastiffs.
By 6 months they will reach approximately half their adult weight. We will notice that, in the same way, they take longer to reach sexual maturity.
It is very important that these animals have an adequate diet for this fastest growing stage so that deficiencies do not affect development or even cause pathologies.
Dogs of breed will have established standards on the measures to be reached in their maturity.
In mongrel dogs we can use average growth curves that calculate the approximate weight that puppies must gain according to their growth stage, faster during the first months, in which food intake must also be higher and these must always they must be specifically formulated for puppies.
Our vet can control that growth proceeds normally by weighing and checking our puppy every time we come to his office for your first shots.
Do you have any doubt left? If you want, you can leave a comment and we will help you solve it.