Puppies do a lot of growing in their first two months of life and this includes a number of important physical milestones.
Let’s take a look at the physical milestones puppies reach during the first eight weeks of life.
Newborn to Two Weeks
When puppies are born, they are helpless and totally reliant on their mother to meet their every need. The mother nurses, cleans, carries her puppies and keeps them warm. She also stimulates them to toilet.
At this age the pups’ eyes and ears are closed and they experience the world through touch and smell only.
Toward the end of week two the legs begin to strengthen and many puppies can support weight on their front legs. During this stage, however, puppies tend to sleep most of the time, conserving their energy for feeding and growing.
Two to Four Weeks
From about three weeks of age the ears and eyes start to open and puppies begin to hear and see their world, their littermates and mother. When the eyes first open they are bluish-grey in colour and the puppy cannot see very well. Their sight gradually improves as the days progress.
This is also the time when they begin to vocalise, starting with little grunts and whines which will eventually develop into loud barks.
From about the third week puppies start to learn how to walk, which is one of the most important physical milestones. At first, it’s quite clumsy but they improve with practice. This mobility allows them to further explore the world around them.
The baby teeth break through at this age and puppies begin to gain control over their bladder and bowel, learning to toilet away from where they sleep.
Four to Eight Weeks
From as little as week four, puppies will begin eating solid food while still nursing from their mum and most puppies are fully weaned by around eight weeks of age.
At about seven weeks old puppies have sufficient control of their bladder and bowels to begin toilet training.
At eight weeks vision has fully developed and puppies have a complete set of milk teeth. At this age their motor skills have greatly improved and, although still somewhat clumsy, puppies have better co-ordination.
Between about six to eight weeks puppies should receive their first vaccination.