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Puppy Development

Age Development Wild Puppy vs Urban Puppy Exercise
Birth   Mother's milk Eat and sleep
10 -15 days Eyes open Mother's milk Eat and sleep, limited activity
18 - 21 days Hearing begins and teeth erupt Mother's milk Wild pups first emerge from den at 4 weeks
4 - 8 weeks Weaning begins about 4th week
Weaning complete about 8th week (may sporadically "dry nurse" to 11th week
Mother's milk

Wild Puppy: Regurgitated semi-liquid food: nutrient-dense meat, organs, fat and cnnective tissue: soft bone, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, etc

Urban Puppy: Semi-liquid food: nutrient-dense meat, organs, fat and connective tissue: soft bone, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, etc.
Play with littermates. Short periods of romping and wrestling. Puppy stops activity when desired.
2 - 4 months  Rapid Growth
3 - 4 daily meals       

Highly digestible, nutrient dense diet for growth to maintain a lean body type

Wild Puppy: Meals brought to pups by adults or pups are taken to kill site to feed. High ranking pups are more assertive for food.

Diet elements including flesh meat, organs, fat and flesh-covered bones or small prey animals. Plant material (fruits), herbivore ingesta, insects, blood and other fluids, connective tissue: cartilage, tendons, sinew. Pups chew on anything chewable.

Urban Puppy: Large and small whole animal dietary elements including: flesh meat, organs, fat, plant material, herbivore ingesta, blood and other body fluids, accompanied by adequate amounts of connective tissue: cartilage, tendons, ligaments and edible bones bones.

Wild pups are moved from den "rendezvous sites". Play periods extend - littermates romp, chase each other, wrestle, play and hunt.

Urban pups: no forced running, jumping, fetching or endurance-related activities. Puppy stops activity when desired. Limited exercise - short walks. Exercise from chewing bones.

4 - 6 months Milk teeth replaced Wild Puppy: Begin to accompany adults on foraging trips.    
6 - 8 months Growth Slows
Pups eat 2 daily meals Peak growth rate is generally achieved by most breeds.

Wild Puppy: As pups continue to mature they compete more within the social order of the pack and within the ranks of their littermates for larger animal food items. Subordinate pack members may consume more flesh from bones, organ scraps and stomach ingesta to augment diet. Individual hunting of game, mice, rabbits, birds, etc.

Urban Puppy: Diets of large breed pups may require a decrease in the amount of food per day in elation to exercise in order to maintain optimal weight for proper growth.

Wild pups may begin to travel with the pack. Pack socialization/interactions. Urban pups: increased amounts of suitable, moderate exercise. Longer walks. Puppy stops activity when desired.      
1 year Adult
Epiphyseal cartilage closes - end of long bone growth. Small and medium breeds mature. Large breeds may continue to mature up to 24 months.  

Wild Puppy: Complete in social order for large game - moose, elk, deer and sheep. Individual hunting of smaller game: beaver, mice, rabbits, squirrels, birds, etc., fruits, insects, plant matter, soil, feces, etc.

Urban Puppy: Diet is adjusted according to requirements of:

  1. environment / season
  2. maintenance / health
  3. pregnancy / activities
  4. exercise / activities

Wild dogs - high levels of activity - Pack hunting and rest

Normal activities and exercise for breed and age.

Conditioned for working and performance requirements.


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The information on this website is not intended to replace Veterinary medical advice.