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Growth Chart and Puppy Feeding

May 6, 2011

We got our pup at 4.5 mos so we don’t know what he weighed before this, but we saw him at 3.5 mos and he was so so tiny. I looked like he grew 1 inch/week during the fourth month. As he ages we’ll update this page. Then you might be able figure out where your little guy will end up in the lineup.

People say that a pup’s weight at 4mos is 50% of their adult weight. According to my web research giant dog breeds can take 3 years to fill out (Swiss mountain dogs for example), but smaller breeds dotheir growing in the first 6 mos and then growth tapers quickly after that. The chart below gives growth examples from a few small breeds. Note: I think the poodle on the chart is a toy, not a mini.

Small dog breed weight chart from lowchensaustralia.com The mini schnauzer is the middle line on this graph

Mini schnauzer forum concur that mini schnauzers have visible growth spurts until 6 mos, but people stop measuring after 12wks and so evidence is weak. There was one research study comparing dog breed weight (not other measures) for first 3 years. They reported that mini schnauzers reach 50% of their weight, by 14 weeks (3.25mos) and 99% of body weight by 42 weeks (9.5mos).

OUR BEST GUESS FOR FIG’S ADULT SIZE:  20lbs and 15″ tall (yes, taller than standard)

PUP’S ACTUAL GROWTH:

Date           Weight         Height      Length     Ribcage     Neck

April 28        11.5lb/5.5kg     12.5″            14.0″          16.5″            9.5″

May 11          13.0lb/6.0kg         13.0″              14.0″          16.5″            9.5″

May 19          13.0lb/6.0kg        13.25″           14.0″         17.0″            9.5″

June 1           15.0lb/6.8kg         14.0″           14.25″        17.5″            10.0″

June 15         15.2lb/6.9kg      14.25″         14.25″        17.5″           10.0″

June 30         15.4lb/7.0kg      14.25″         14.25″        17.5″           10.0″

July 12          16.0lb/7.3kg      14.25″         14.5″        17.5″           10.25″

July 27         16.3lb/7.4kg       14.5″          14.5″        18.0″           10.5″

August 15    16.5lb/7.5kg       14.5″          14.5″        18.0″           10.5″

Sept 15         16.5lb/7.5kg       14.75″          14.5″        18.0″           10.5″

Oct 15         NA

Nov 15          17.5lb/7.9kg       ~15″          ~14.5″        19.0″          10.5″

Dec 15          17.0 lb/7.7kg      ~15″          ~14.5″        18.0″           11″ (1yr old, new muscles!)

Dec 15          17.0 lb/7.7kg      14.75″          14.25″        17.0″           11″ (1.6yr old and fit!)

Weight taken on kitchen scale in a bag. Height from ground to top of shoulder blades. Length from breastbone to butt. Ribcage is a tight measurement the ribs. Neck is a tight collar measurement.

CONCLUSIONS:

We predicted adult height perfectly.  Growth stabilized around 9mos. The 4mos height is 1/2 adult height. Muscles will develop further in second year and that may add pounds, but in our case Fig became more physically fit and dropped fat.Puppy food can safely be stopped after 10 mos because bone growth stops. Remembering to measure our pup was harder to remember, than I thought.

IMPORTANT NOTES ON FEEDING:

There is rapid growth in small breeds – FEED your pup well! Don’t worry about overfeeding in first 8 months! They need the nutrients and fat. Healthy puppy growth patterns set them up for a healthy adult life without less dietary issues related to bone, hip, and intestinal development. Buy the fancy puppy chow. Cheap ones are cheap for a reason. They have crap fillers like corn and sugar will not help your puppy develop and they may be linked to adult allergies. You will have a junk-food-junkie on your hand if you feed them salty filler food. I have seen many cats go this route – it’s not pretty.

I recommend leaving food out all the time for the first 6mos. We tried 3 small meals, so he would do training more – bad idea. He scarfed each meal down and even puked because he ate so fast. He self regulated when he knew there was always food. Think about it – it is no different as when they are breast feeding with mom. They graze well and eat at their own pace. Our puppy was raised this way at the rescue too and they recommended that we continue this practice. Our pup is not overweight and if anything he could stand to gain weight. I suggest you do the same, until you see your puppy stop growing rapidly and only fattening. See also: Is my dog fat?

I thought it would not matter if we change things, but it was. We went from three meals to two meals between the 6th and 9th month feeding 2/3 cup each meal with many tiny soft treats during 30 minutes of training midday.  After 10 mos we slowly reduced the meal size to 1/2 cup twice daily. Our pup get about 1-2 hours of intense exercise daily and treats on days when he works or walks more. He is perfect weight and the vet ran complete blood work and everything is perfectly balanced. When he slowed down again after a year we cut his meals to 1/3 cup twice daily. He gets treats throughout day.

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7 Comments
  1. My mini Schnauzer Roxy has always seemed a bit large to me. I checked her height at the shoulder today and She’s 10 inches tall. She is 13 weeks old. Either I’m doing something wrong, or I was given the wrong birth info. I think maybe I’m doing something wrong – she was “normal” size at 8 weeks old when I got her.

    • Height is in kicks and starts in the beginning. My measurements start at 4 months and height was exponential early on. Some weeks he gained height and others just weight. Some weeks grew longer and other weeks legs caught up. Think preteen human – sometimes legs or neck look long, but once fully grown things balance out. I would love to get more info on my 4mos theory, if you could update next week, 6 and 8 mos. Every pup litter has taller and runty pups because the “standard” is a human picked range – not nature. You might also look at what you are feeding and compare ingredients to other brands to see if there isn’t something glaring that might be encouraging more rapid growth (just a weak idea of mine).

      • Have you measure weight? The height and weight might help determine birthdate if unknown. Is your pup square? That might help you know, if its just early uneven growth.

  2. Cindy permalink

    I found a few of your suggestions concerning (even disturbing) and contrary to the vet’s recommendations. I found your blog tonight after coming home from the vet emergency room and almost losing my 10 week old mini schnauzer. She literally died in my arms, and I was finally able to revive her after performing CPR.

    Everybody should be concerned with overfeeding ANY and EVERY pet, no matter what the age is. My precious Schnauzer ate only a little more than 1/4 cup of food tonight. I have her only a tiny bit more since her ribs were starting to show a little. After the feeding, she literally bloated so much that it caused her vagus nerve to shut down her heart and breathing reflexes, leading her to die in my arms.

    I got her at age 6 weeks from a breeder who told me to let her eat as much as she wants until she stops. That advice (and yours) is DEADLY! Many puppies do not have the ability to regulate themselves, and it is horrible advice to tell people to leave food out constantly and let them self-regulate. This is especially deadly in many other breeds also, not just schnauzers. Every puppy has a unique personality.

    Instead of hoping the pup will self regulate, most vets, emergency rooms, and trainers direct owners to feed mini schnauzer puppies VERY SMALL portions approximately 4 -5 times per day. Their stomachs at the age of 10 weeks are about the size of a golf ball.

    Also, treats throughout the day are a definite NO!!! Most treats (especially milk bones) have a very high fat content. If you absolutely MUST give treats for training purposes, use only one small healthy treat and break it up into multiple tiny pieces to use throughout the day. A few premium brand dog foods make healthier treat options, but most options found on supermarket shelves should be bypassed.

    I will close by BEGGING anybody reading all of your feeding advice to speak with their own vet about feeding recommendations first. Don’t take the word of someone online, a breeder, or a worker at a pet store. The decision you make could mean the difference between life and death for your pet. By the way, the emergency room vet told me tonight that she would rather see a puppy with the ribs slightly showing than see the number of deaths she sees EVERY SINGLE DAY due to owners over-feeding their puppies.

    One last thing, one of my former schnauzers died from diabetes last year. He was the largest out of his litter and overfed by his breeder. If I let him eat everything he wanted to eat, he would have died sooner than he did. Overfeeding has very real and serious consequences, just as it does in humans. The problem is that in small animals, the consequences come much quicker and are even more fatal.

    • I am so sorry for your loss.

      While I have never seen a puppy who was free feed from birth overeat, I have absolutely seen that with dogs that are starved between meals and then they switch to free feeding. I personally dont’ believe there is anyway to go backwards once they have been starved even once. As you said they need to eat throughout the day to keep up with growth and I had to regulate portions once I started to schedule feeding.

      I can only speak from my own experience. I have zero problem free feeding until my pup was starved (by his understanding) for a week between meals. He was feed every four hours and treated while in training, but his temper changed immediately.

      I have worked for large rescues and have helped nursed pups with poor early nutrition back to health, but watched many with developmental issues passed off to adoptees. I have never heard if what you are talking about in a puppy and my vet and the rescue free feed young puppies from birth with zero problems and the reason for this advice is the necessary bone, eye, and tissue grawth requirements because a lack of nutrition when growing rapidly leads to loads of long term health consequences that are working to prevent.

      In adults it was always the opposite – obesity. I have yet to see a schnauzer outside of my own that is not fat and the main causes of schnauzer death are related to obesity.

      Again I am sorry for your loss and I hope you will not feel guilt over the death. I don’t believe there is an exact science to all things in life. We can only learn from each other and make decisions going forward based on them and not act based on fear and go with our guts.

    • Karmen permalink

      Cindy story isn’t true. If anyone thinks that first part is true, please let me know. I have never heard of that, nor have any the vets or vet students that I have asked. While there is potential of bloat in any breed, especially large breeds. Dying because they ate “too much food” throughout the day due to free-feeding or during one meal would have to of been a tremendous amount, and quite frankly is ignorant and a flat out lie.

      While there are rare cases of some animals, humans or snakes, etc. dying from overfeeding, going around installing fear into new dog owners is prevalent in online – spending money, giving advice that obviously profits/started by/for the medicinal, pharmaceutical, vet companies, scaring people about bringing up an “alpha dog” when they just don’t understand dog pack behaviors and creating psycho owners.

      Dog and humans have coexisted for a long time (Dog and wolf DNA differ due to Human domestication). In 19th century schnauzers staple diet in Germany was potatoes! Most people would shutter now days at the though of giving their dogs potatoes and some of the “table scraps” dogs would of ate in the old days was really nasty and of poor nutrient value (potatoes skin rinds,corn husks etc). Let’s not forget wolfs and dogs are scavengers eating anything they can. Despite lack of vaccines and poor diet dogs have managed to thrive in the world with humans.

      It’s natural instinct especially in wild animals to eat as much of their kill/meal as they can in one sitting. Being psychically sick to your stomach, because you ate too much, is a biological reaction to prevent to “impossibleness” to some degree you said happened. Most mammals have this chemical that cause the feeling of fullness and will throw up if ate a indigestible or too much.

      Let’s face the facts. There are humans born unable to produce the chemical responsible for this sensation of fullness in there brain. While they eat an unbelievable amount of food they never “died” or had any ill effects (their stomachs didn’t explode, their nerve didn’t get pushed on etc). Now remember they couldn’t feel full, so that painful uncomfortable sensation, we get when we eat way too much, they may never feel but they will reach an overfill point…defies logic and story, Cindy.

  3. Karmen permalink

    The human ate too much turkey on thanksgiving. Turkey has a chemical or enymze in it that makes you sleepy and he ate too much and died in his sleep. Snakes (Boa’s) attempt to eat much larger prey, (antelope etc) and sometimes die in the process so times it’s prey in the throat/stomach or sticking half out its mouth…

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