Puppies’ healthy development
Puppies’ development stages
Understanding your puppy’s capabilities at any particular time in his life can help you raise a happy adult dog!
Puppies of smaller breeds tend to develop more rapidly. They often reach maturity shortly before turning 1 year old. Puppies from larger breeds take longer to develop, sometimes reaching maturity around 18 months. All puppies however follow the same pattern of development from infancy to maturity.
Newborn puppies, 0 – 2 weeks
Newborn puppies mostly sleep and suckle. They need their mothers to stimulate urination and defecation by licking their genital area. Their eyes open at around 10 – 14 days but vision remains poor for the next few weeks.
What to do? Gentle handling is all that is needed at this stage.
Transitional period, 2 – 3 weeks
Puppies learn to:
- Lap liquids
- Urinate and defecate by themselves
Teeth also appear and ears open around the end of the 3rd week.
What to do? Puppies subjected to mild stress during this period are better able to cope with other stresses later on. Picking up the puppy everyday, looking at him, holding him in different positions and weighing him constitute mild stress and is therefore recommended.
Socialization period, 3 – 12 weeks
This is a critical period for puppies. Interaction with humans, other dogs and their environment is key to making puppies happy dogs later on.
3 – 8 weeks
Puppies’ sight, hearing and sense of smell become more efficient. They become livelier: barking, tail wagging, play-‐biting, growling, chasing, head-‐shaking and carrying objects in their mouths. Around the 5th week, they acquire full use of their eyes and ears and start playing with their litter-‐mates.
What to do? During the 3rd to 6th week, puppies are likely to be in the care of their breeders. A conscientious breeder will know that separating sleeping and play areas is important for puppies to practice appropriate toileting behaviour.
To help puppies’ mental development, it is good to provide them with an interesting and complex environment: cardboard boxes, toys and old gloves for example. Puppies will also benefit from encountering a variety of noises, sounds and different floor surfaces. It is good for them to practice on low and wide steps.
Contact with humans, both adults and children is great, especially in the last week before puppies leave for their new home.
8 – 12 weeks
This is the time where most puppies come to live in their new homes. They become increasingly afraid of things they haven’t encountered before.
What to do? This is a critical time for socializing. Play is extremely important, and your puppy will need to learn to play human games to reduce and inhibit his play-‐biting.
Juvenile period, 3 – 6 months
Environmental awareness increases and your puppies will explore further afield. You’ll also notice chewing and mouthing behaviours. They facilitate teething and aid exploration!
What to do? As your puppy will now be better able to concentrate and learn, it is a good time to train him and teach him good manners. The willingness to please of this age is a great opportunity for you to teach.
Adolescence, 6 months – 1 year / 18 months
Puppies become more independent. They also reach sexual maturity with males experiencing fluctuations in their hormone levels. Chewing continues and territorial behaviour appears.
What to do? This is the time most dog owners give up their dogs for rehoming. Having laid good behaviour foundations earlier will make this period easier.
Your dog will be physically mature but still inexperienced.
What to do? Keep up the training and socializing!
What to feed your puppy for the first few days?
For the first few days you have your puppy home, it is good to continue feeding your puppy the same food he or she was eating before. You can then start gradually using the food you have chosen. This helps prevent stomach and digestion upset.
Switching to a new food can take from 7 – 10 days. You can make a mixture of 75% of the old food and 25% of the new food for a few days, then 50-‐50 for several more days. You can then switch to 25% of the old food and 75% of the new food for a few more days before feeding 100% of the new food.
If you notice that your puppy is vomiting, has loose stools or appears constipated then it is recommended to slow the rate at which you are putting him on his new food.
When to feed your puppy?
A puppy grows up 20 times faster than an adult dog. That means that on average, a puppy will need 2.5 times as many calories per kg bodyweight as an adult dog while growing. However, it is important to avoid over stretching your puppy’s tiny stomach. That’s why we recommended feeding your puppy 4 meals a day until the age of 4 months old, 3 meals a day until the age of 6 months old, and 2 meals a day for the rest of its life.
What’s proper nutrition for puppies?
A nutritionally complete balanced diet is fundamental to giving your puppy the best start in life. During its first year, your puppy will grow at an alarming rate; its muscles, skeleton and teeth will all grow rapidly as well as the development of its immune system and brain function. Protein and Omega 3 and 6 are particularly important in helping your puppies develop healthily.
High quality proteins derived from the meat in the food help puppies’ develop at a healthy controlled rate of growth.
Omega 3 and 6
To guarantee your puppy has a healthy skin and coat; you need to ensure its food has all the essential fatty acids. Omega 3 and 6 oils will also support brain and vision development.
How to avoid dog food allergies from puppyhood?
The most common allergens are:
- Chicken (surprised? We were)
Staying away from these ingredients from the start will decrease the likelihood of your dog becoming allergic to food later on.
All our products are free from fillers commonly found in commercial dog foods and that dogs are often allergic to: corn, wheat, soy, milk, eggs and preservatives.
What’s more, all our products contain meats that are least likely to cause allergies in dogs. We’ve purposefully decided to stay away from meats dogs are often allergic to: chicken, beef and pork. Our Premium Duck Kibble contains duck and duck only: fresh duck, duck meal, duck fat and duck digest. And our Premium Wet Food contains lamb and lamb only: lamb meat, lamb liver, lamb heart, lamb tripe and lamb broth. All our treats are 100% natural.
You will notice that we've made our ingredient's list as simple as possible so you can know exactly what goes in your puppy's tummy. We've stated all ingredients' percentages and we've stayed away from generic ingredients, which often contain hidden meats (e.g. 'animal by-products', 'meat meals', 'animal fat', and 'poultry meal').
To read more about allergies, click here.
Where to feed puppies?
The location is not as important as the consistency. It is important to be consistent right from the start and always feed your puppy in the same area. A puppy eating area should not be a high traffic area. He should be able to eat comfortably and access his bowls easily. It should be an area that is out of the way but easily accessible from the main living area.
Should puppies eat treats?
Giving treats is a good way to reward good behavior and ideal as a training tool. However, most commercial treats are sweet biscuits or sugary treats full of sugars, colourings and milk products that are bad for your puppies teeth and waistline. That's why we've selected air-dried pure treats made of venison and cod skins only. The meat is sliced and then air-dried - that's it! That means that our treats contain no additives, no preservatives, no colourings, no sugars, no eggs, no dairy and no wheat.
Don’t forget that real chocolate is poisonous to dogs!
It can cause liver damage and can even be fatal.