permenant stunted growth from puppy malnutrition?

I just took in a 6-7 month black lab puppy. He was abandoned in a house for about 2 weeks when he was 5 months old or so. I saw the vet yesterday and while he is a healthy boy he is considerably undersized, and they told me he might not grow because of the malnutrition. Is it possible for him not to grow at all anymore? Or will he just be behind for awhile?

Asked by Member 968553 on Feb 26th 2010 Tagged malnutrition, stuntedgrowth, size in Health & Safety
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Most dogs within each breed grow at different rates, even though they ultimately end up the same size as adults. When I bred labs for 40 years, I had two distinct lines... one had achieved most all their adult height by 10 to 12 months, the other line was extremely small at 9 to 12 months old and continued to grow well into their second year. As full grown, mature adults, these dogs were exactly the same size. Without knowing his genetic growth rate and his exact age it is impossible to tell what size he should be as an adult. My vet has always said that size is genetic... while you can make them grow fast or slow with nutrition, they will ultimately be the size determined by their genes.

B.J., CGC answered on Feb 26th.

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I would like to know this as well. My pit was rescued from being abandoned on a chain, then tossed in a puppy mill. He was severely malnurished, had demodex and was just very unhealthy. I had him a year before he started filling out. He filled out nicely, but he never actually grew very tall. He is now going on 4 and is quite short for a pit. I have often wondered if it was from mal-nutrion. My vet was vague when asked, so I am assuming he didn't really know the answer.

If you find out for sure, let me know. Not that it would make any difference, but it would be interesting to know.

Hector answered on 2/26/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


It does happen, but rarely and the deficiency has to be really considerable, over a long period of time and pretty extreme. More extreme than 2 weeks at 5 months old, I think.

At the age he is now, he's still got some growing to do. I would be very surprised if any dog didn't get a little bigger between 6/7 months and say, 14 months, especially a medium to large breed dog. Having said that, I don't think most dogs grow in huge amounts after this age, so what you may see is a more general filling out than a "height" growth.

It's also possible that while he may look like 100% lab, that he is a mix, which might make him smaller overall.

Sounds like your little guy got off to a rough start. I'm glad he has you to look after him, now!

Jack answered on 2/26/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I don't think 2 weeks of malnutrition is enough to stunt his growth.
Look to your breed standard to see the height of the breed.
most people think a lab should be some great big dog.
he might be right on schedule or he is a mix breed that resembles a lab.
He could be half pitbull or such and that would give him a smaller blocky appearance.

Dieta answered on 2/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Bam-Bam, CGC

My Bam-Bam was put on a Hills prescription diet when he was younger. This diet made him look very malnourished and he did stop growing (his poops were nice though! *rolls eyes*)

Anyhow, he was on this food for maybe a month or so. He was on the small side for a while afterwards, but that was related to the health problems he already had (constant and relatively severe diarrhea). He's now 21 mos old and at a very normal size!

I don't think that 2 weeks of malnutrition will stunt your pup too much, if at all. Just get him on a good quality, nutritionally dense kibble now to make sure he gets everything! Wellness and Solid Gold are both great brands carried by PetCo (I bring it up because a lot of people have a local PetCo).

Bam-Bam, CGC answered on 2/27/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer