When do dogs' paws stop growing? The general consensus is around the 12 month mark, similar to when a dog stops growing (breed dependent)
Do you have a big dog? If so, you may be wondering when their paws stop growing.
And let's be honest, we all love dogs with big paws - they're incredibly fun to rub, poke and all round play with. Reminds you of bear paws too, no?
While these can be reminiscent of our bear dog breeds, keep in mind that we can use the size of puppy paws to somewhat measure how big your dog will be.
Does a puppy's paw size really matter?
The answer is: It depends, but generally not.
On one hand, when it comes to the day-to-day activities of your pup - such as running, playing and walking - their paw size isn't going to make much difference.
Except, of course, looking adorable.
In fact, there used to be an old myth about dogs' paws growing forever until they pass, which has been debunked recently (source)
On the other hand, it can matter because there are some things you need to take into account when your dog's paws start getting bigger.
For example, if they're growing too big for their current diet or toys.
It can also matter if you think their paws are abnormally large or possibly swollen - it could indicate an infection, or some issue with their paws in general.
If you think that's the case, please consult your vet - they'll help shed a bit more light on the topic.
But let's focus on when do dogs' paws stop growing in this article.
when do a dog's paws stop growing
They generally stop growing around the same time that a dog stops growing, which is about 12 months of age, approximately.
Of course, for small dog breeds, in line with their sizes, their paws will stop growing much earlier.
Giant breed puppies will continue to grow in width however, so don't be alarmed if their feet get wider before they get taller.
Correlation and indicators of adult size
Generally, there is a correlation between your dog's adult size and weight and the size of it's paws, especially in purebred dogs.
In general, there are two loose rules that you can follow.
- If your puppy has paws that seem too big for their body, chances are they'll still grow bigger.
- If your puppy looks like it's paws are the correct proportion to its body, or are small, they won't get much larger.
The reason for the rules above are simple - For example, a Great Dane will require far larger paws to support it's far larger bulk and weight.
So, it's also reasonable to assume that if your Great Dane puppy has smaller feet as a puppy (compared to others of it's breed), we can safely assume that your Great Dane may be a little less... Great.
At the same time, if you have a tiny Chihuahua puppy with somewhat larger paws, you can expect it to be a little bigger than it's littermates.
But no, it will NOT grow to the size of a Great Dane.
That said, simply because your puppy has larger (or smaller) than expected paw sizes does not necessarily mean they'll be bigger (or smaller).
Mixed breed puppy paws size and adult size estimation
When it comes to mixed breed dogs, the two rules above are even less accurate.
The reason is simple - mixed breed dogs are unique and have the DNA of two different breeds, and anything can happen when it's mixed.
The result when you mix two breeds together can be unpredictable, and paws are one of the features that could be affected.
So when it comes to mixed breed dogs, it's better not to make too many assumptions based off your puppy's paw size when predicting how big they'll get.
Of course, if the breeds mixed were similar (i.e. a Labrador Retriever and a Golden Retriever), you might be able to somewhat predict how big your dog will get by the size of it's paws.
In this case, we won't know when their paws will stop growing, though we also expect it to adhere to the 12 month rule in general.
Possible puppy paw issues
As with all growing pains, puppies can have some growth issues too.
A big issue could be when a puppy's paw becomes abnormally large or swollen.
This could indicate an infection, or some other issue with the paw that needs attention from a professional.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your pup's health and development, please consult your veterinarian!
They will help clear up any confusion and advise you on what steps to take.
We also have a post on the common dog paw issues you can refer to.
So, when do dogs' paws stop growing? They will when they reach maturity, which is around 12-18 months old, similarly to when a dog will reach it's adult height and weight.
It's also a lot easier to predict how big your puppy will get in pure breed dogs, than with mixed breed dogs, due to the possible genetic variance in their DNA.
Also remember that paws are an important part of a dog's anatomy and play a crucial role in their mobility, so it's important to make sure that your pup's paws are healthy and well taken care of.