Puppy growth nutrition and diet

As your pup grows, they will experience a number of changes and you might find yourself with a growing list of questions to match. We want to help you understand the next stage of your puppy’s development, the differences you might notice in them and how to make sure you meet their needs.  

When does my puppy finish growing?  

Small breeds, like Border Terriers, tend to finish growing before their bigger counterparts, with giant dogs, such as Newfoundlands, continuing to grow until they reach around the 18-month mark. The bones and joints of bigger breeds need more time to grow and develop, but all pups need to eat a suitable diet to ensure they’re getting the right nutrients for their different stages of life.  

How do i know if my dog is getting enough nutrients?  

As a pup, a dog’s nutritional requirements are very different to its needs as an adult dog. This is because puppies need enough nutrients to fuel their speedy growth and development. A puppy needs to eat food specially made for puppies, with the number of feedings a day dependant on their age. Our article on Safety Considerations for New Puppies  tells you what foods are toxic to our puppies and should be avoided. 

You’ll be able to find plenty of useful information and feeding guidelines on the label or packaging of their food, but if you are still struggling to decide or know what’s best, why not book a Puppy Clinic, free as part of PupStart. 

Signs that your puppy is eating healthily 

There are some sure signs that a pup is getting enough nutrients from its food to support its growing body:       

Weight gain 

It is very important to ensure you are feeding your puppy an appropriate type and amount of food so that they can develop strong and healthy bones. However, they mustn’t be fed too much so that they become overweight. Being overweight can increase your puppy’s chances of developing joint problems, heart disease and diabetes, and stop them from being able to play and exercise as normal.  

Typically, the ideal weight of a healthy dog is one where their ribs have some fat cover and you can see the tapered shape of the waist.  Speak to a Joii vet If you have any concerns about weight gain, the type of food and the amount you are feeding your dog. 

Coat and skin 

A dog’s coat should be shiny and clean with elastic skin. Hair loss, a matted coat or dry, red and itchy skin are all signs that your dog isn’t as healthy as it could be. This could be because of parasites, illness, allergies, or a lack of nutrition in their diet. Food rich in good fats and oils, such as fish and chicken, can help your puppy stay healthy. 


Your puppy’s stools hold a lot of clues as to whether they’re getting enough from their diet. They should be firm but soft in texture, log-shaped and chocolate brown in colour, with no signs of blood or discolouring. If you notice any significant changes in your puppy’s poo, they might be having trouble to digest the food they’re eating.  Speak to a Joii vet if you have any concerns about your puppy’s digestion or poos, it’s free for PupStart customers. 

Energy levels  

It’s quite unusual for puppies to hide away for prolonged periods, they are always ready to interact with you in some way. The right diet will provide your puppy with enough nutrients to stay mentally and physically agile. A happy, healthy dog will be alert and responsive to what’s happening around them.  

Puppy nutrition and neutering 

Once your puppy has been neutered, the quantity of food they eat will have to be reduced, otherwise they’ll start to gain weight. This is because they need fewer calories than they used to eat but a vet can help you understand what their new intake needs to be. Even with fewer calories being consumed, don’t forget it’s important that they are still provided with plenty of opportunities to exercise and play.  

Looking for more dog advice?

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