4-Month-Old Puppy: What to Expect – Dogster (2024)

Having a 4-month-old puppy can feel like a whirlwind of chaos. Your dog is developing quickly and going through daily transformations. Just as soon as you figure things out, it will all change!

Here, we explain everything to expect from your 4-month-old puppy. From development to exercise and behavioral challenges, this article should tell you everything that you need to know about your pup!

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At 4 months, puppies are going through many development leaps. Handling these growths properly is a vital part of raising your puppy.

Teething will likely peak at this age, so expect your canine to chew aggressively. While your dog won’t only chew at 4 months, you can expect the most teething to occur at this time. Be sure to provide plenty of safe chew toys and train your dog to use them. Puppies will often start by chewing on everything, and they require regular training to not gnaw on the furniture.

Many dogs also go through a growth spurt around 4 months. While puppies typically grow quickly, you may notice them speeding up a bit around this time. Prepare for weight and height gain. Depending on your particular dog, you may need to upgrade their leash and harness.

Ensure proper nutrition during this time. Your dog must continue to consume a puppy formula until they stop growing, and most puppies do not stop growing at 4 months. Be sure to choose a formula that is also designed for your dog’s specific size.

Puppies are still practicing their motor skills at this stage, so expect them to move around quite a bit. Zoomies, clumsy jumps, and awkward running are all common. You’ll need to provide them with exercise, but keep in mind that puppies tend to be quite clumsy at this age, so don’t expect too much of them.

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While they may be getting big, these dogs are still puppies. They will act similarly to how they did when a month younger, but they will slowly gain their confidence and grow into their personality.

Socialize your dog well at this time, even if you focused on it heavily in the last month. Socialization is one of the best things that you can do for your puppy, as it will help them grow into a confident adult. Too little socialization causes dogs to be timid or aggressive (or both).

Take your dog to as many different places as you can. Dog-friendly stores, parks, and walks around town are all good options. Choose places that enable your dog to meet strangers and other dogs. The more experiences your puppy has, the more adapted they will be as an adult.

Training should also continue in month 4. You’ll probably still be working on basic commands like sit, stay, and come. Puppies tend to learn slower than adults, but it’s still important to teach them. They’re mostly focused on getting used to training and obedience at this age. Over-practice the basics to help ensure that your dog truly has these necessary commands down.

Your puppy may start getting at a command or two during this month. Be sure to start using them in real life and while you’re socializing. They should be used outside of training sessions for your dog to truly master them.

Most puppies will be at least somewhat potty trained at this stage. Smaller dogs often take longer, as they have smaller bladders. Accidents will still happen in most cases, and you should continue to remain consistent.

Don’t let a puppy’s potty-training success put you too much at ease. You should continue rewarding successes and sticking to your potty schedule.

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Potential Behavioral Challenges

Certain challenges are common at this age. Some puppies may develop separation anxiety, causing them to white or howl when left alone. Crate training can help correct and prevent separation anxiety. If you haven’t started crate training, plan on doing so as soon as possible. The crate should be your dog’s safe space where they can sleep and relax with their favorite toys.

Chewing tends to be a problem at this stage. Don’t leave your dog with anything that you don’t want to be chewed and destroyed. Redirect your dog whenever they chew something that they aren’t supposed to. Having multiple safe chew toys can be exceptionally helpful at this age.

Some dogs have a surge of independence at this time. It tends to kick in as the puppy becomes a bit less of a puppy. Your dog may be occasionally resistant to commands. Plan on being firm and avoid getting frustrated.

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Your 4-month-old puppy requires a certain amount of exercise at this age. You should generally plan on providing about 5 minutes of exercise per month of age twice a day, which would be around two 20-minute sessions. Preferably, one should be in the morning and one in the evening.

However, this is a guideline. Some dog breeds will need more exercise than others. Plan and adjust if your dog appears to be overly tired or hyperactive.

Do not overexercise puppies when they’re this age. If your dog is tired on a walk, do not force them to keep walking. Doing so can cause bone and joint development issues. Your puppy may be more prone to hip dysplasia if you exercise them too much when they are developing. We particularly don’t recommend jumping or high-impact activities until your puppy is fully grown.

Be mindful of the weather. On hot days, it may not be best to exercise your puppy. Going out early in the morning or late in the evening is best in these situations. On cold days, consider waiting for it to get warmer around the middle part of the day.

Short, brisk sessions of exercise tend to be best for puppies. They’ll spend a great deal of time taking naps, but you can expect spurts of energy between these rest periods.

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Feeding your 4-month-old puppy properly is crucial for their development. High-quality puppy food is absolutely necessary for your dog to grow properly. Without essential nutrients, they’re more likely to develop health problems later. Look for brands that are reputable and don’t have regular recalls. The safety of the food is just as important as its nutrition.

Meat-based ingredients are best. Many puppies also do well on grain-inclusive foods. We don’t recommend selecting grain-free foods unless your dog actually is grain sensitive, as grain-free foods have been associated with health problems.

Both wet and dry foods can be solid options, though it depends largely on your and your dog’s preferences. Some puppies have special digestive needs that point toward one food or the other, but there isn’t necessarily one type of food that is always better. For instance, some dogs don’t digest wet food well.

Puppies typically need more meals a day than adults. They have smaller stomachs, so they require smaller meals. Tiny puppies may have trouble regulating their blood sugar, and they may need even more frequent meals. Be sure to always divide the amount of food that they should have daily between all these meals as best you can.

Four-month-old puppies should have at least three meals a day. Very small breeds may require four, though. You can decrease the number of meals when they’re around 6 to 12 months of age.

Don’t free-feed. Always measure your dog’s food, as overeating can cause serious issues for many puppies. Too many calories can cause hip dysplasia and similar problems in large breeds on top of the usual obesity. Most puppies are exceptionally food driven, and they will often eat far more than they need.

Be sure to maintain a consistent feeding schedule. A routine helps your puppy know when food can be expected, which may prevent begging. It can also help with potty training, as you’ll learn when your puppy needs to head outside.

Don’t give table scraps to your puppy, as these can be unhealthy or even dangerous. Many seasonings used by humans, including onions and garlic, are toxic to dogs. For safety purposes, it’s often best not to give any human food to your pet.

Dog treats are recommended for training, but you should serve them sparingly to prevent weight gain. Training can be done with your dog’s usual kibble, though you may need more high-value treats in certain situations.

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Puppies need a significant amount of sleep. At 4 months old, your puppy is basically still a baby, and just like a human baby, they need far more sleep than an adult due to their accelerated growth. Sleep plays a crucial role in your dog’s development.

At 4 months, expect your dog to sleep around 11 to 15 hours a day. Exactly how much your puppy sleeps will vary, but you should not prevent them from napping when they want to. Providing a cozy crate for them to sleep in can help your puppy calm down and rest when they become tired.

Their sleep is generally divided into several naps and a longer stretch at night. We recommend crating your dog at night to ensure that they rest and sleep. Otherwise, it is possible for puppies to be too active at night and then sleep all day, which is exactly the opposite of what you want.

Of course, every puppy is unique and their sleep needs can vary widely. Some breeds may need more sleep than others. If your dog is more active, they may need more sleep, for instance. Puppies may also go through stages where they are quite active and sleep little, followed by phases where they sleep most of the day.

By 4 months, most puppies will be sleeping through the night. Some may still need a potty break in the middle, though. Small breeds tend to need potty breaks more often than large breeds, as their bladders are tinier.

Preferably, you want to get your dog to their sleeping place before they become overly tired, especially if your puppy has trouble falling asleep. Puppies tend to have the same sleep signals as humans, such as yawning, rubbing their eyes, and becoming more subdued.

Setting a routine can help ensure that your puppy gets all the sleep that they need. You don’t want to be trying to feed or train your puppy when they are tired. Exercise before bedtime can also help your puppy get their energy out and settle down. However, you should provide a quiet time before bed. Too much roughhousing can lead to your puppy being overstimulated at bedtime.

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Four-month-old dogs are still puppies. They require careful care to ensure that they are developing properly. A proper diet, training, and sleep are all vital for their development. You’ll also need to stay on top of their developmental needs. Puppies at this age are typically teething and may have several growth spurts.

However, all puppies are different. Just because we recommend doing something here doesn’t mean that it’s the best idea for every dog. You know your puppy best, and you should make the proper adjustments as you see fit.

Featured Image Credit: Kindred Hues Photography, Unsplash


  • Development
  • Behavior
    • Potential Behavioral Challenges
  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Sleep
  • Conclusion
4-Month-Old Puppy: What to Expect – Dogster (2024)


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