When Do Dogs Stop Growing?

Understanding when dogs stop growing is essential for any pet owner, as it affects everything from diet to exercise and overall health care. This development phase varies significantly across different breeds and is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. At Lagniappe Animal Health in Ruston, LA, our team is dedicated to providing you with valuable insights into your dog’s growth and overall health. If you have specific concerns or need personalized advice, feel free to give us a call at (318) 255-3303.


Breed Size and Growth Rates

Small Breed Dogs

Small breed dogs, such as Chihuahuas and Pomeranians, typically finish growing much quicker than their larger counterparts. Most small breed dogs stop growing by the time they are 6 to 8 months old. During this period, their caloric needs are higher per pound compared to larger breeds, supporting rapid developmental phases that complete sooner.

Medium Breed Dogs

Medium breed dogs, like Beagles and Border Collies, generally reach their full size between the ages of 12 to 16 months. These dogs go through a steady growth pattern and require balanced nutrition that promotes sustained development without the risk of bone and joint issues often seen in improperly fed larger breeds.

Large and Giant Breed Dogs

The larger the dog, the longer the growth period. Large breeds such as Labradors and Golden Retrievers typically grow until they are 18 to 24 months old, while giant breeds like Great Danes and Mastiffs might not stop growing until they are around 2 to 3 years old. Their long growth periods require diets specifically designed for large breed puppies to prevent growth-related health problems.

Genetic and Nutritional Influences on Growth

Importance of Genetics

Genetics play a pivotal role in determining how big a dog will grow and how quickly. The genetic code inherited from the dog’s parents gives a roadmap for its development, which is why purebred dogs often have predictable sizes and growth rates, whereas mixed breeds can be more unpredictable.

Nutritional Requirements

Adequate nutrition is essential for healthy growth. Puppies require a diet rich in proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, along with essential vitamins and minerals to support bone growth, muscle development, and overall health. It’s important to choose a high-quality dog food that meets the AAFCO guidelines for growth and reproduction to ensure all nutritional needs are met throughout the growth phases.

Health Considerations During Growth

Regular Veterinary Check-Ups

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian at Lagniappe Animal Health can help ensure that your dog is growing at a healthy rate and not developing any potential health issues. Growth-related problems, such as hip dysplasia in larger breeds, can often be mitigated with early detection and appropriate treatment.

Impact of Spaying or Neutering

The timing of spaying or neutering can also impact a dog’s growth. These procedures can affect the growth plates in bones, potentially leading to longer growth periods and increased risk of joint disorders in certain breeds. It’s advisable to discuss the best timing for these procedures with your veterinarian.

When to Be Concerned About Growth

Signs of Healthy Growth

A healthy growing dog should be energetic and free of visible health issues like persistent limping or difficulty moving. Their weight should be proportional to their breed and age, and their coat should be shiny and healthy-looking. Any deviation from these signs warrants a consultation with your vet.

Indicators of Growth Issues

Stunted or accelerated growth can be signs of underlying health issues. Stunted growth could indicate nutritional deficiencies or possibly more serious health problems, such as congenital issues or hormonal imbalances. Conversely, too rapid growth, particularly in large breeds, can lead to skeletal and joint problems.

Understanding Your Dog’s Growth 

Understanding when dogs stop growing helps pet owners make informed decisions about their dog’s health, diet, and care. Each breed has its own timeline and specific needs, and providing the right nutrients and veterinary care is key to supporting a healthy development process. If you’re concerned about your dog’s growth or have any specific questions, call Lagniappe Animal Health at (318) 255-3303 for more information and guidance.