It sometimes comes as a surprise to new puppy owners’ when their puppy seems to grow “overnight.”
If you are familiar with puppies, you have probably noticed that they usually grow quite quickly in a short amount of time. This is because they experience growth spurts!
Puppies can have many growth spurts throughout their first few years of life, some of them being more noticeable than others. Each puppy can grow differently, some growing faster, and some slower.
There are also many ways you can tell if your puppy is going through a growth spurt, this may be helpful to know in case you have recently noticed your puppy acting strange or not like themself.
If you are interested in learning about puppy growth spurts, their different stages, and how to determine if your puppy is having growth spurts, keep reading to learn more!
Puppy Growth Spurt Timeline
Just like human babies, puppies have growth spurts consistently throughout the time they are growing.
It is important to remember that each puppy is different, some might grow faster or slower than others. There is no need to worry if your puppy is not experiencing growth spurts immediately, it can sometimes take a while!
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Puppies will usually experience their first growth spurt around 2–4 months of age and their second around 6–8 months of age!
Puppies will most definitely have their first growth spurt during their first year of life; however, it is likely that you will notice their first growth spurt happening within the first few weeks of their life!
NOTE: Your puppy will grow faster at the beginning of its life, more so than at any other time!
Let’s break down a timeline for each phase of a puppy’s growth spurts:
- Newborn (Birth) – Puppies will be blind, deaf, and have no teeth
- Neonatal (Birth – 2 Weeks) – Puppies will begin to develop smell and touch, they will also double in their birth weight!
- Transitional (Weeks 2–4) – The puppy’s eyes will open, they will begin to grow teeth, and they will also begin to walk!
- Socialization (Weeks 4–12) – Puppies will begin to socialize more and begin to create bonds, they will also slowly begin to eat solid foods. Between 6–8 months, you may notice your puppies’ growth slowing down and that they aren’t growing significant amounts over a short amount of time.
- Fear (Weeks 8–12) – A puppy’s nerves will begin to kick in at this state, they will become more cautious around others, this is why the socialization phase is so important! You will also notice your puppy reaching its final weight and height near this time.
According to puppy owners, the “fear stage” (in weeks 8 and beyond), is the most difficult for puppies and their owners.
This can be a very trying time for the owner because their puppy is finding its own way in life and may begin acting in ways that are oftentimes overwhelming for their owner.
It is important to keep in mind that, just like human children, puppies will grow out of this behavior. They are young, they want to explore, and they don’t want to listen. It all takes time and patience, but will work out in the end!
It is important to remember that although a puppy may be large in size, that doesn’t mean they are an adult. The puppy stage can last well into a puppy’s second year of life, this is why consistent training can always be very helpful.
Usually, puppies will have their most significant growth spurts between 3–5 months of age and will reach their full height and weight between 18–24 months.
When Will My Puppy Hit a Growth Spurt?
New puppy owners oftentimes wonder when their pup will hit their first growth spurt. The truth is, it is very hard to tell!
Most puppies hit their most significant growth spurts anytime between birth and up to 2 years of age. The most common times for puppies to have a growth spurt are during months 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12.
This all depends on factors such as their breed, their size, etc. They could begin to have growth spurts every month or every few months!
The most common time for puppies to hit their most significant growth spurts is around 6 months of age.
During this time, you may notice your puppy having some strange behaviors that they normally don’t have. They may act strangely or even misbehave at times, but there is no need to worry, this is very common!
A puppy who is experiencing a growth spurt is usually not comfortable with what is happening to them, they could even have some pain because of the stress on their body.
Thankfully, the side effects of growth spurts usually go away fairly quickly as the puppy grows more.
TIP: It is important to train and socialize your puppy to ensure that when they are growing, they aren’t as troublesome. Starting training early can ensure that no issues arise as your pup gets older.
If you are interested in learning more about puppy training, check out this article: Week-By-Week Puppy Training Schedule
Is My Puppy Having a Growth Spurt?
When puppies begin to have growth spurts, they often behave in ways that make it easier for us owners to tell what is going on.
While their behaviors are sometimes not ideal during this time, it is good for owners to have clear indications that a puppy is having a growth spurt and that something else more serious isn’t happening with their pup.
There are certain growth spurt signs and symptoms that will occur, some of the most common include excessive chewing, shedding, sleeping, and many more!
Typically the first sign of a growth spurt that a puppy owner will notice is that their puppy begins to chew excessively.
TIP: Try getting your puppy some chew toys that won’t wear down easily!
Another one of the most common ways to tell if your puppy is having or has already had a growth spurt is if they have seemed to grow in size in a way that seems to have been “overnight”
A lot of times puppies will grow so fast that it is hard to even notice. A lot of times growth spurts will happen consistently over the course of a few weeks and before you know it, your puppy is way larger than it originally was!
There are many other different signs that can indicate if a puppy is experiencing a growth spurt, here are several others that are very common:
- Food intake — A puppy may not eat as much as normal, or they may eat way more than normal! All puppies react differently when it comes to food during the time, they are experiencing a growth spurt.
- Sleep — Just like food, a puppy who is experiencing a growth spurt may sleep more, or less, than they normally do.
TIP: If your puppy is sleeping more, there is no need to worry, this is their body’s way of making sure they conserve enough energy to grow! To learn more about whether or not it’s okay to let your puppy sleep long/through the night, check out THIS article.
If you are interested in learning more about puppy sleep routines, check out this article: 5-Step Puppy Bedtime Routine! (With Advice from Owners.)
- Emotions — Some puppies who are experiencing growth spurts will be more emotional than usual, and you may notice your puppy being more attached to you, they may act out, or bark obsessively, you may notice behaviors that your puppy has never shown before!
- Louder Barking — Because growth spurts come with a physical change, a puppy will eventually find its “voice.” You may notice your pup’s bark becoming louder, or appearing to have a different sound/pitch, they may even begin barking more often.
- Pain/Discomfort — This is one of the most common reasons why puppies will begin to chew all the time. If they are experiencing discomfort from growing, chewing is a way that they let out that energy (especially if they are in pain because of growing teeth!)
- Energy Levels – Puppies are known for their excited and sometimes hyper energy. If you notice your puppy slowing down and not acting as energetic as normal, they are probably going through a growth spurt.
- Upset Stomach — Growing can cause many side effects from a puppy’s own body. Because of the strain and pressure put on their muscles, joints, organs, etc. Some puppy owners have said that their puppy began having vomiting or diarrhea as a result of a growth spurt.
If you become concerned over any symptoms your puppy is having because of a growth spurt, it is best to visit a vet as soon as possible. A lot of times there are simple cures that can make your puppy more comfortable as they grow!
Do Puppies Have Growth Spurts When Sleeping?
You may notice your puppy sleeping way more than usual if they are going through a growth spurt. There is nothing to worry about if this does happen, it is actually a good thing!
While growth spurts don’t necessarily happen ONLY when a puppy is sleeping, it is likely that they do a lot of their growing during this time!
Because their bodies are growing, a puppy will sleep more during a growth spurt because their body is trying to save its energy, it takes A LOT of energy to be able to grow into a full-sized dog!
Muscles, bones, joints, etc. are all able to use the energy gained by sleeping to grow! A puppy who is sleeping a lot during a growth spurt will definitely benefit from that sleep!
NOTE: If you notice your puppy sleeping for abnormal amounts of time, and that they aren’t growing much, it may be time to visit the vet. Excessive sleeping can oftentimes be an indicator of an underlying health condition.
Some puppy owners have also said that they have the opposite problem, their puppy never sleeps! This is oftentimes caused by growth spurts as well.
There are so many reasons why your puppy may not be sleeping through the night, thankfully there are tips and tricks for that!
If you are interested in learning more about how to get your puppy to sleep through the night, check out this article: When Do Puppies Sleep Through the Night? (Tips & Tricks!)
What Puppy Breeds Grow the Fastest?
A lot of times puppy owners will be concerned about how fast their puppy will grow.
While we all want to keep our puppies in their adorable puppy stage forever, they will eventually begin to grow.
Puppies that will become large breeds will have to grow more in size than small breeds, they tend to have more consistent and quick growth spurts than smaller dogs.
However, there are still smaller dog breeds that grow just as quickly as larger breeds.
Here are some dog breeds that grow significantly faster than others:
- German Shepherd
- Yorkshire Terrier
- Toy Poodle
- English Mastiff
If you have a larger breed puppy, it is likely that you will notice them growing in bursts consistently throughout their first 2 years of life.
Depending on their exact breed, you may notice that they grow rapidly within the first few months of their life. For example, Golden Retrievers are known to grow significantly between 2–6 months of age, and reach half their full size by 6 months!
Another common occurrence when a puppy is a larger dog breed is that the owner will notice that the puppy’s paws are way larger than their bodies.
Some puppy owners become concerned when this happens, but there is no need to worry! This only means that your puppy is going to grow up to be quite a large dog, or they may even grow into those paws and become a medium-sized dog!
NOTE: If your puppy has extremely large paws, it is likely that your dog is going to be very big, if you’re not sure of their breed it might be interesting to learn about!
Read these next: (All About Puppy Training and Sleep Schedules!)
While we strive to give the most accurate and helpful information about your pet’s health that we can, this article is meant to be informational only and not medical advice. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified veterinary health care provider regardless of what you have read on this site or elsewhere.