How puppies grow and how their brain develops.
During the first months of their life, your puppy undergoes amazing growth. Transforming from a tiny, fragile, furry ball with underdeveloped senses and nervous system into an energetic, focused and smart pup.
Did you know that a puppy normally gains 5-10% of its body weight every day for the first two weeks? That they’re born blind, with their eyes shut and external ear canals closed? That their hearing isn’t fully developed until they are eight weeks old but that once they are an adult, they can hear frequencies up to two and a half times higher than human ears?
During this time, your puppy’s brain is also developing at an incredible pace and by the time they’re six weeks old, their brain will already be 70 % of the size of an adult dog’s brain.
During growth, your puppy’s bones and muscles are growing and developing to form the locomotor system (which gives them the ability to move). At the same time, their nervous system is maturing, allowing improved communication between brain and body.
In the outside world, your puppy’s consciousness of their environment is growing as they start to explore and discover more of their surroundings. New people, new places, new tricks and new commands, they have a lot to assimilate and learn.
By 8-9 weeks of age, your puppy will be ready to start learning! You will want to increase stimulation, training and teaching your puppy everything they need to become a well behaved and stress-free adult dog.
As with every kind of training, learning needs the right nutritional “fuel”. Offering your puppy food that is specifically adapted for this specific stage of their life is the best way you can assist your puppy’s healthy growth and brain development. Nutritional deficiencies from an unbalanced diet can lead to problems such as poor vision and a reduction in your puppy’s ability to learn.
How can nutrition help?
A diet supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids (DHA in particular) helps support brain development, improving memory, hearing, and vision, while also helping to make training and learning easier. In fact, research on the role of DHA in brain development has found that puppies fed a diet supplemented with DHA were quicker at solving a problem than puppies fed a complete and balanced diet which was not supplemented. For this reason, it is important that diets formulated for growing puppies should be supplemented with DHA.