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 and being at risk for future obesity?
The weight-gain norm
A puppy should begin gaining weight from the day he is born. He should gain between 10-15% of his birth weight each day. But a simple rule of thumb is to expect your pup to gain about 5 ounces per week for small breeds and 2.5 pounds a week for large breeds. Anything more than that could be setting your puppy up for future obesity. But how on earth do you weigh your puppy at home? It’s not like you can just throw him on your bathroom scale, right? So here are a few visual cues that can help you monitor your puppy’s weight gain.
Examine your puppy from the side. His belly should not hang lower than his chest. On the other hand, his ribs should not be visible, either, which would indicate an underweight pup.
Look at your pup from above. He should have a visible “waistline.” His hips shouldn’t protrude sharply. Neither should he look sausage- or barrel-shaped.
Feel for your puppy’s ribs. This is especially important in dogs with thick coats that can hide weight problems. Ribs should feel slightly padded, but not like they have a large coat of fat over them.
A note about underweight puppies.
If your puppy is failing to gain weight at an appropriate pace, he should be checked by a veterinarian. He may be suffering from an underlying intestinal problem, poor nutrition, or even worms or other parasites.
When to expect growth spurts
Puppies will normally experience their largest growth spurts at varying points, depending on the breed size. For small breeds, expect growth spurts between birth and 11 weeks of age. Medium size dogs will grow most quickly between birth and 16 weeks. And large breed dogs 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 weight gains during those periods.
However, if your puppy seems to be gaining too much or too little weight, you may want to re-think the food you are providing. 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.