Puppies are adorable, fuzzy, cute and cuddly, but they don’t stay that way for long! Owning a Labrador Retriever puppy can be a great experience, though it does involve a significant amount of responsibility. Labrador puppies grow amazingly fast, especially if they are treated well and are provided with adequate nutrition. However, since Labrador Retrievers are a medium-large breed, there are some dangers involved if your puppy is growing too fast.
Most puppies do not reach their adult size until about 14 months of age, and continue growing until they are about 18-24 months old. Usually by one year of age, your dog will appear to be an “adult” dog, though they still need to be fed puppy food at this time. Puppies begin getting their adult teeth at about four months of age, and the teething process can last until they are up to 12 months old.
During your puppy’s early days, it is important to divide their daily food ration into three meals, as this will be the easiest for your puppy’s digestive system to handle. Almost every dog food company provides a feeding chart on their packaging, which can be different for each brand of dog food. Giving your puppy an adequate supply of food is the first step to promoting healthy puppy growth!
It’s also important to monitor your puppy during the growing stage. If your puppy begins growing too fast, pain and abnormalities may develop in the joints. This will cause your puppy to limp, or yelp occasionally when the are walking. This is cause for concern, and you should bring your puppy to the veterinarian immediately.
As your puppy grows, so will his or her appetite! Be sure to weigh your puppy on a weekly basis, to be sure that you are providing them with an adequate supply of food (as listed on your dog food’s feeding chart). If your puppy constantly seems hungry, try switching to a dog food that has more protein. Dogs in the wild need a lot of protein to grow properly, and so does your puppy.
Since your puppy will be growing rapidly, try to be aware if they require a larger crate, or a bigger collar. These are things that pet owners often ignore until it becomes a serious comfort issue for your dog. Just like a growing child, your dog will need some new pet supplies as they continue to grow.