Milestones in a Puppy’s Development

If you’ve found an orphan puppy, you won’t know exactly how old he is.

But you need to make an educated guess so you can determine the kind of care he’ll need. A two-day old puppy needs a completely different of kind care than a three week old. Once you’ve figured out his age, you’ll know if you need to stimulate him to potty or start housebreaking him.

Please remember that this chart is only general guide. Every puppy matures at a different rate. Larger breed dogs tend to mature earlier than small dogs.

Day 7
  • Is blind and deaf
  • Can smell well enough to find mother
  • Sleeps 90% of the time and eats the other 10%
  • Room should be 85°
    Fed 6 to 8 times a day
  • Can't go to the bathroom on his own.
    He requires external stimulation of private parts to help him eliminate.
  • Needs only minimal handling
  • Body temperature is 94°F
  • Umbilical cord still attached
Day 2
  • Body temperature between
    95° and 97° F
Day 3 Umbilical cord falls off
Day 5 Begins to crawl around
Day 7
  • Puppy crawling more easily
  • Should be cuddled only a few minutes a day
Days 7 to 14
  • Room should be kept at 80° to 85°F
  • Eyes and ears open
  • Stands wobbly
Day 14
  • Stands up and crawls around
  • Eyes focusing
Days 14 to 17 Begins walking wobbly
Days 14 to 21
  • Starts to explore his surroundings
  • Milk teeth (baby incisors or front teeth) emerge
  • Touching objects with his paws
Days 17 to 21
  • Poops and pees without assistance
  • Interacts with littermates
  • Tail wags
Day 21
  • Critical Socialization Period-need for human socialization and introduction to other species begins
  • Begins to explore his surroundings
  • Body temperature reaches 98° to 100°
  • Weaning begins for large sized puppies
  • Really walking
  • Playing with siblings (biting on ears, tails and paws)
Days 21 to 28
  • Lapping formula from a bowl
  • Eye color changes
  • Starts to groom himself
  • Feed 4 times a day
Day 28
  • Room should be no cooler than 75° F
  • Small sized puppies begins to wean
  • Have full set of baby teeth
  • Eating soft food
  • First vaccinations for orphans
  • Playing with littermates
5 weeks Should receive gentle human handling
4 to 5 weeks Housetraining begins
5 to 7 weeks
  • Forms relationships with people
  • Moves around the room freely
  • Play mounting
  • Eats four times a day
  • Actively eating dry food
Week 6
  • Greets littermates with nose and tail sniffing
  • Eats three times a day
Day 45 Should have 28 puppy teeth
8 to 9 weeks
  • Puppies can be spayed or neutered when they reach 2 pounds
  • Dry food three times a day
8 to 10 weeks
  • Puppies with mothers are fully weaned
  • Puppy can be rehomed
8 to 11 weeks Fear imprint period - traumatic events will
likely cause fear for life
Week 12 Chasing things
Week 14 Adolescence begins
2 to 5 months Permanent front teeth emerge
4 to 5 months Permanent first premolars emerge
Month 5 Permanent canines (fangs) emerge
5 to 6 months
  • Males reach sexual maturity
  • First permanent molars appear
5 to 18 months Females have their first heat
Month 6 Permanent second premolars emerge
6 to 7 months Permanent second and third molars appear
6 to 14 months Males lift leg to pee
Month 7 Cutting permanent teeth
36 months Large breeds considered mature