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Why Mother Dogs May Kill Their Puppies

Updated on January 29, 2016
alexadry profile image

Adrienne Farricelli is a former veterinary hospital assistant and now a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant and author of dog books.

Joined: 8 years agoFollowers: 1,687Articles: 1,256
Mother dogs bond strongly to their puppies the first weeks.
Mother dogs bond strongly to their puppies the first weeks. | Source

It is a pet owner's and a dog breeder's worst nightmare: a mother killing its puppies. Whether the killing is purposeful or accidental, the sight of the dead puppy is enough to cause shock and disbelief.

This behavior is unfortunately not uncommon in the canine world. It actually has a name: ''infanticide." But why would a mother dog kill a puppy?

There are many reasons, and not all of them are to be condemned.

Is She Actually Killing Them?

First of all, it is important to recognize that the mother dog may not necessarily be killing the puppies.

Unless you actually see her killing them or acting in an abnormal way, it would be unjust to assume she is doing it. If you find a puppy dead in the morning, many things could have gone wrong.

Normal Puppy and Mother Interaction

Puppies normally nurse and spend 90% of their time sleeping during their first week. During the first week, the mother should exhibit a lively interest in her puppies. She will stimulate them to eliminate by licking their bottoms and ingesting their waste.

One Way to Help

If the dog had a large litter, you can help by getting a cotton ball, wetting it with warm water, and gently passing it on the pup's bottom after they nurse, mimicking a mother's tongue.

Do not use anything other than a cotton ball and be very gentle. Never rub.

Questions to Ask

  • Is the puppy's room temperature ideal? It should be around 85 degrees for their first days and never less than 70°F. This means you will have to use a heat lamp, and possibly, a heating pad.
  • Are the puppies actively nursing?
  • Are they sleeping close to each other?
  • Is there a puppy staying away from the others and crying more? These may be signs of puppies not thriving as they should.

What Causes Death

There are many medical conditions that can cause puppies to die.

Puppy fading syndrome can cause puppies to die from when they are born up until they are 9 weeks old.

According to Hilltop Veterinary Hospital, the syndrome might be caused by:

  • Puppies being too hot or too cold
  • Mother's neglect of the puppies by refusing to lie next to them and nurse them
  • Physical defects of the puppy
  • Infections

If you notice anything of concern, take your dog and litter to your veterinarian.

Preventing Death

Puppies are very vulnerable as newborns. To keep them safe and healthy, your best bet would be to watch the litter closely for the first few weeks and look for puppies nursing and acting normally.

Also, watch the mother's interactions and take note if there are any abnormal behaviors. Sleep near the litter for the first few days. This way if you hear any muffled cries, you can go to the rescue.

In general, you should always take the mother, along with her puppies, to see a vet 24 hours after giving birth to ensure there are no retained placentas and that the puppies are in good health.

Why Would She Do It?

When it comes to finding dead puppies, there are some signs of mother intervention that cannot be mistaken. Disappeared or dead puppies with bite marks, missing their head, and with other significant injuries may be safely assumed to have been killed by their mother.

Accidental Killing

Dogs may at times accidentally kill their puppies by crushing them or smothering them. Not all have the instinct to nose the puppies to the center of the whelping box for safety.

Smothering, crushing, and laying down on the puppies can be prevented by installing railings that help prevent the dogs from accidentally lying on a puppy that may have slipped behind her.

Killing Sick Puppies

Other times, when puppies act sickly or when they have something wrong (which we as owners may not be able to tell), mothers may purposely kill them so they can focus on the healthier ones.

It may start with the mother pushing the puppy away from her. At times, the mother may even eat the puppy. This is not cruelty. It is natural selection and part of the dog's evolutionary process. If one puppy is sick, it may attract unwanted predators.

Inexperienced or Unstable Mothers

The mother dog may have been bred too young—dogs should never be bred on their first heat—or she may simply not be a stable mother.

In these cases, the mother should be spayed and never be allowed to breed again. As the puppies grow, the mother dog may growl and snap at the puppies that require discipline, but in the first week, puppies are defenseless creatures that depend totally on their mom.

Normally, the mother will bond strongly with them during this time thanks to the "bonding hormone,"oxytocin. When that doesn't happen, trouble arises.


Some dogs may kill their puppies if they feel stressed from not having a quiet secluded place for the litter to live. There may be too many people coming to see the litter or the litter may be too big for the dog to handle.

The dam's stress levels may cause her to do the unthinkable. According to Nicholas Dodman in an article for Petplace, a Rottweiler mother killed her pups after being returned to her from a tail docking. She may have assumed the puppies had been damaged or contaminated in some way, and therefore, their destruction was a way of putting them ''out of their misery."

Lack of Recognition

Some dogs, especially new mothers, might not recognize their offspring as their own. This is especially true for dogs who had a cesarean section. New puppies sound like some prey animals (e.g. rodents.) Some dogs with a rodent-killing heritage might mistake them for prey and might be compelled to eat them.

Problems with Nursing

There is a condition that makes it very painful for a mother to nurse her young (mastitis) The pain might be enough to for her to reject the litter.

Make sure you do your research before breeding your dog, have the mother and litter seen by the vet in the first 24 hrs, and monitor both the mother and the litter carefully for the first few weeks. This should help prevent problems with infanticide.


Please consult with your veterinarian or dog behaviorist any time you notice abnormal behaviors in your dog.



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    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 26 hours ago from USA

      Lisa this pup really needs to see the vet. If mom is neglecting him, you will have to make sure this pup eliminates. Are you inducing him to potty by using a warm cloth after he's fed? Are you using milk replacers like Ebsilac? Is he staying warm near the other pups? Milk, warmth and proper elimination are important. If the mom is neglecting this pup, there may be something wrong with him.

    • lisa 29 hours ago

      I have a dachshund and thisis her 2nd litter .the first litter she was a very good mother.the 2nd litter has a very small runt,it is all I can do to make her feed him.she always pushes him he is very weak,he staggers and stumbles when he trys to walk,i have been bottle feeding him but he is still not active like the other puppies.he always just lays around balled is sooo sad.he is literally more than half the size of the other puppies.i cannot afford to take him to a veterinarian..what shoud I do/ PLEASE give me some advice on what to do.../,'

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 4 weeks ago from USA

      Baar, it could likely be a combination of stress and not being able to lick them and smell them right away after delivering them. As you know, a lot goes on on a chemical level when pups are born naturally without interference. It is difficult to really know whether this is likely to repeat if the scenario is different next time.

    • baar 4 weeks ago

      I recently had an American Bulldog litter with a new mother. The first puppy (male) came out fine, she reacted well. She was nurturing, curious and loving. Then we waited an eternity (7hrs) before going to the vet and getting a shot to help her along. The next 4pups came out and were delivered healthy at the vets. Within an hour of getting home and into the whelping pen and reintroduced to the pups, she killed all the girls and had the male nursing on her nipple. I removed them male instantly, put her in her kennel, right next door and cleaned the room and the male, then put him on the heat pad back in the pen. 2hrs later, i brought her back into the whelping pen to feed. She seemed a little nervous in her kennel so i just held her collar and put the pup on her back nipple. As soon as I did, she calmed down, as if she just wanted to be near him. I stayed in the pen with her on a collar and leash for another few hours and she seems to be the perfect mom. She keeps him tucked into her or gently picks him up, rearranging and nudging with her nose to guide him back towards the warmth n food when he starts to cry. They've been together alone (15ft away from me) for the last 36hrs and seem to be doing great.

      She's a stable bitch and seems to be a great mother of the first born. Is it possible that she just didn't think they were her pups and was protecting the male? A combination of stress from the vet and not getting to imprint with them before coming home? Could thing have been different if the vet hadn't whisked them away from her?

      The boy arrived dec16@4am so its still early to tell but if things go well with him, I think I would like to try breeding her again, but maybe just having a midwife(midwoof) in case she needs a shot or something? Is that totally irresponsible?

      Thank you for your time and have a great day!

    • MAYSAN 3 months ago

      Yes Yo, You are 100% correct. For goodness sake Shar get your dog fixed and stop breeding her.... really it is not rocket science.

    • Yo 4 months ago


      How many damn times are you willing to watch almost an entire litter get consumed, you freak? Stop breeding her. The article above, THAT YOU READ, suggests that your dog makes for an unstable mother. Jesus Christ.

    • Laura 5 months ago

      Hi my bitch had just came off her cycle she has been mating constantly with my boy she hasn't been aggrestive tho her mood has changed she has got very lazy and my boy has now started to growl at people that stroke her is this a sign she is pregnant or is he just being dominant over her

    • Shar 5 months ago

      My dog had 6 puppies June 17 its now July 26 so they are just over a month and a few weeks old. I did notice one of her puppies weren't as big as the others and it just practically laid there barely moving at all. later the puppy passed away and there were 5 left. I actually witnessed for the first time my dog actually eat the puppy that died which freaked me out! Once I did some research I began to grasp a bit more of an understanding of why she did it and the puppy was visibly not well. Later there were only 3 puppies and I just thought she might have been hiding them or something. Today, I heard a screech which seemed like a cry from one of the puppies and an aggressive bark from the mother dog, I ran outside to see what was wrong to find that she was eating the puppy!!!! I was completely blown away! She had already eaten the other two and there was only one left I quickly went to grab the pup before it was the next piece of steak. I brought the dog inside gave it a bath ( he was very dirty and smelly) fed it some soft dog food and gave it fresh water. We currently have the pup separated from the mother because I'm afraid she will eat him too. She ate 5 pups and that was the only one left! This is her third time giving birth might I add and she has had some complications with the previous births and every time only one or two pups lived. The last two dogs she ate were very healthy their eyes were open they were walking and responding to their environment and also pretty plump. Someone please help me I don't know what the cause is it seems like she has some sort of aggression towards them I really don't believe she is doing it for their well-being. What could this cause be and what should I do about the pup that's left should I keep it away from the mom or is that a bad idea??????? HELP!

    • Amy 6 months ago

      I have a 1 year old female blue nose pit on June 30th she had a litter of 10 puppies all males and they're having problems latching on as of today she is entirely quit feeding puppies and seems to be aggressive her tittsvery hard and she's not milking anymore and I don't know how to relieve that pressure any suggestions

    • Candice 6 months ago


      My toy french poodle gave birth on Tuesday 5 July at 2am. She had 3 puppies but the one died inside her so we had to take her into the vet because she couldn't push.

      The vet put her on a drip and they gave her calcuim injection and something else. When we fetched her on Tuesday 10am they said that she wants nothing to do with the 2 puppies but when she saw us then she started licking them and taking care of the 2.

      My mom struggled to get the boy puppy to drink and when he got food in it came out his nose and he couldn't breath. We took him back to the vet yesterday and unfortunitly had to put him out :'( :( :(

      Lilly the mommy has lost the plot. She is shaking , wheaping and very restless . She keeps crying for my mom everytime she leaves her eye sight. She digs around the bedding and by "skropping" she disterbs the baby. If the baby cried she looks what is wrong and she keeps her clean by licking her but she is very rough with the baby.

      Lilly is very hyper and runs around looking the whole time. She takes the baby in the evenings and puts her in my parents bed. She isn't acting normal , very crazy putting it nicely. She cries all the time for her baby but when she is with her then she is very very rough.

      We don't know what else to do. We don't know what is wrong :(

      Is there any advise that you can please give us

      Many thanks


    • Aracely 6 months ago

      Hi... I'm in need of some answers my German Shepard just had a litter of 11 pupps for the second time on Jun 20th day by day some of the puppies where found dead... today which is the 24 of jun I had 4 puppies left I went out for about 2 hrs. When I came home and checked on them I only found 3 but one was dead & can't find the other one anywhere!. I don't know where or what happened to it since the mom is chained up I don't think she ate it since there is no sign of blood or anything ...I am down to only 2 puppy's & took them into my house idk what to do??. Plz can I get some advice!..

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 7 months ago from USA

      It could be you're looking at a dogs' molera or open fontanelle. Is this is a chihuahua puppy? it's more common in chihuahuas and small toy breeds. There are chances it will go away as the pup grows around 9 to 12 weeks of age, but have the pup see the vet just to make sure.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 7 months ago from USA

      It depends, some mother dogs can co-exist with their older pups, while others have a hard time. Being dragged by the neck is certainly not a pleasant experience for this pup which is past the age when pups are transported from one place to another. Since the pup squeals, it must be quite uncomfortable. I would suggest finding this pup a good home as soon as possible so she can bloom into a great dog. Also worthy having the vet visit this pup just to make sure there's nothing wrong with her as mother dogs can sometimes detect abnormalities.

    • Alex 7 months ago

      My sister has a Pomeranian. She had her pups about 3 - 4 months ago. 1 of the puppies died when coming out and the other died about a month. So there is only 1 left now and has been living with us still until we find her a good home. I am just concerned and not sure if it is normal but the mom will constantly be around her or bite her neck and drag her and the puppy will squeal so I will pick the puppy up because I am not sure if that is normal or not. She also continuously licks the pups head and body.

      It is almost like the puppy don't like to be put down sometimes because the mom is constantly trying to play with her or biting her neck and dragging her. Is this normal? Is it a bad idea to keep a puppy with the mom after a few months?

    • Zane 7 months ago

      My girlfriend's dog had a litter of puppies by her dad and one dog was born with a hole in the dogs head between eyes and nose is there a name for it should I put it down? Idk what to do

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 7 months ago from USA

      It depends on the circumstance, did she kill the puppy?

    • Cecil Inong 7 months ago

      Should a dead puppy be left with the mother so she can dispose of it when she is ready? If the dead pup is taken away from the mother can it be traumatizing to separate from the dead if she is not ready for it?

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 7 months ago from USA

      This is quite unusual, any more information on what may have happened?

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 7 months ago from USA

      I wouldn't consider killing puppies "normal" behavior unless there is something really wrong with them from a health standpoint. This is why breeders stop breeding dogs who show any signs of harming pups. It is odd and unfortunate that your dog started doing this the first time after being bred the third time.

    • 8 months ago

      Yesterday Cherry bred for the third time. She had 12 healthy happy pups. A week later my husband came home and on the driveway 11 bloody pups were just sitting there stiff as wood. This is a new to my dog she hasn't done this ever before. My last pup remaining had a bloody ear and a leg missing when he got home. Also apparently the pup that's still alive is the father dog's favorite. My husband saw Cherry try to kill the remaining pup but Tiki (father dogs name) defended the poor puppy. Now he's got scratches all over him. Is this normal behavior?

    • hi 8 months ago

      My pitbull killed his pups and the mother?

    • Australia 8 months ago

      Our Maltese had 5 beautiful puppies by c section. She had nursed them up until today when my wife arrived home to find them all killed. One of the puppies had its head eaten. A horrible horrible site and experience.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 8 months ago from USA

      Theo, the article addresses several possibilities, so sorry for your loss.

    • Theo 8 months ago

      My dog ate her own puppy, is there any explanation??

    • karen 9 months ago

      Had no idea dogs ate their puppies until yesterday..she had three beautiful healthy puppies and I left to go out for a few hours and found half of one of them on the floor when I came back...the other was gone altogether and there was one left alive..I couldn't understand what had happened until she started to throw up pieces of her puppies...she had eaten them...I am at a loss for words and in shock. I've taken the last one away from her and she is only aloud to feed it under supervision and then it is removed. I just can't believe this. I'm in shock...and then I found this post...can't believe this...if I had known this was a possibility I would have removed all three after she fed them.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 9 months ago from USA

      Something is wrong with this puppy, please have him see the vet. Could be has a cleft palate or something else going on.

    • Meow 9 months ago

      I need some help with my newborn pups! I don't know why but one of them keep crying and crying and I thought that it cannot reach its mother but when I move that pup to a nearer place, still it won't drink even tho I put its mouth next to the breast it doesn't drink and always cry and cry

    • Heather 9 months ago


      Now I have an idea for when my dog has puppies

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 10 months ago from USA

      Mother dogs can get stressed from changing places and being around others. Try to keep them in a quiet place but monitor from a distance to make sure all is going well. DAP diffusers like comfort zone may further help out.

    • Concerned co-puppy parent 10 months ago

      Hi, my male dog has pups with our good friends' female dog. The pups are almost 3 weeks old. Our friends moved away last week and we are now caring for the mama and the pups. Our friends will most likely come back on weekends and will probably want to take mama and her pups while they are here. I am concerned that moving mama and pups around so much may stress out the mama. I feel like she is already not wanting to feed them that much. Could I please get some feedback on if my concerns are legit or if I am just over reacting? Thank you .

    • Ms. C 11 months ago

      So my Pittbull just had a litter two days ago first time and she had 10. The first day one died I think she smothered it and today we go to look for a specific one and she's not there!!! We look everywhere and ended up finding her stiff cold under tires in the garage!! We made a warm and comfortable space in the garage for her to take care of them but I don't know why she did that. Anyway the dog wasn't dead and we brought it in the house can we bottle feed it and keep it with us? She took the puppy out of the play pen and put it behind rails!!! What should i do??? Please help!!!! The puppy is getting warmer and moving but i'm scared to give her back to the mother.

    • Aaron 11 months ago

      Hiii, i have two pitbulls that had puppies for quite a while already, but ever since they were born the mother would bite and pick on one of the pups that seemed to be the most scared and the rest of the puppies would also bite him, yesterday i came back home and witnessed one of the small puppys and his dad covered in blood, they killed the puppy by biting and shaking his neck. Separating them was what we did but dont know if we should always keep them apart now.

    • Pete & Yvette 13 months ago

      We have a pitbull mix. She has had 3 liters so far and her first liter most puppies survived. But her last two liters she killed them. We dont know how or why but its heartbreaking to go through this once again with our pit. She recently had her last liter about 3 days ago and today this morning my boyfriend went to check on her and the puppies were all dead. Its so difficult and sad that this happened again. Wish we could have saved her liter. She had about 11 puppies.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 13 months ago from USA

      I am very sorry to hear that. Can it be momma dog placed the pups in a safe area out of reach?

    • kathy 13 months ago

      My rockweiller had 3 pups. They were two weeks old today. When we went to feed today they were gone. No sign of blood in the house anywhere..would she have eaten them at two weeks old? And wouldnt there have been evidence if she did? This was her first breeding.

    • kam 15 months ago

      My pit bull had puppies 6wks ago my sister got three of them yesterday this morning i woke up to find she.had killed one and was feeding it to her litter wth is she okay

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 15 months ago from USA

      May look healthy to us, but mom may sense something amiss that we can't address. Also, could be triggered by stress/temperament issues.

    • Cathy sanders 15 months ago

      My pug gave birth to pit bull puppys but right after birth she will kill and eat them why they were health.

    • yesenia 17 months ago

      My dog`s pups died she's seven years old so I don't believe she's too young she'd constantly leave her pups alone for a while sometimes to let us know she needed water and food but because we had her outside she`d walk around the yard. Its also been very hot lately so am not sure what was it that killed them maybe dehydration. All three were found dead at the same time. Now she's left with no baby. Her breast are still producing milk and am not sure if she's crying of grief or because her breast hurt

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 18 months ago from USA

      Usually, this behavior reduces as the effect of bonding hormones weans off. Try to avoid major commotion the very first days, in other words, don't go there to show other people the puppies or take pictures of the puppies which can cause stress. Only go there to check if there's enough water, make sure everybody is safe. Sit down at a safe distance, where your dog is less likely to growl. If she's snapping, you're too close for comfort. Make it a habit of tossing your dog a tasty treat every time you come close so your dog creates positive associations with you coming close and understands it's not your intent to remove any puppies.Don't touch her puppies if this causes distress. If you need to look at the pups, do it when mother dog goes out to potty or eat. Close her out as a family member feeds her and quickly do what you need to do. Also, if she's acting too aggressively consider moving her and the puppies ins a large kennel so you're safe. See my hub on maternal aggression:

    • Ruby 19 months ago

      How can I help her if she snaps at me when I get near the litter? I'm afraid she'll bite me.

    • A. 20 months ago

      Rhandlen, read under, "Why Would a Mother Dog Kill its Puppies?" there are several possible explanations.

    • RHandlen 20 months ago

      My mom dog had a litter of 7 pups 4 weeks ago. She rejected one and was trying to hurt him, so we pulled him from the rest of the litter and bottle feed him. Today I got the heart breaking phone call at work the she killed him! Why would she do this? I am in complete shock! Please help me understand.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 21 months ago from USA

      I am so sorry about what happened to your pup. I feel your pain. When I was a child, I felt terribly sad when my pet hamster killed all her babies, I can't imagine how it must feel with a dog.

    • Surpreet Panesar 21 months ago


      Thanks for the great post! It proved very helpful...

      My yorkie gave birth to a pup last night. I was unaware that she was pregnant. When i saw the puppy in the morning, it was dead and had a leg broken, separated from the body. I am unsure if the puppy was born dead or my yorkie might have killed it. I am just believing, since it was her first time, she might have accidentally cut off the leg while removing the sac or so.

      Just so heart broken and sad.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 24 months ago from USA

      What breed are the pups? If they are a large breed, by 7 weeks, mother dog should be encouraging more independence, she will not allow nursing as before, she'll want to have more time alone from them. By 8 weeks, the pups should be weaned off milk and ready to go to new homes. Smaller breeds may stay with mom up to 12 weeks. Is it only this one pup? When is she neglecting him? When he's trying to nurse? At this age the pup's teeth hurt her nipples.

    • traci 24 months ago

      My pups are 7 weeks old and it seems like the mom is getting mad and neglecting one of four of the pups is this normal

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      So sorry this happened, unfortunately there are cases as such even though not that common. I hope the other 3 pups survive, you may need to separate them and bottle-feed them. Best wishes.

    • Angie 2 years ago

      The mother was just under 2 years old. It was her 1st litter. Yes I did read the article. Just haven't had this happen before.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      How old is mother dog? Have you read the article? It gives several explanation as to why mother dogs may kill their pups. I am so sorry, this must have been devastating.

    • Angie 2 years ago

      Our dog last night killed 2 of her puppies and severely wounded a 3rd one which we had to put down. One's neck was broken n blood everywhere, another's skull was crushed n blood everywhere, the severely wounded one had a hole in its head, chest n stomach.We were able to save 3. They are 3 weeks old. She started growling at them n then we heard yelps n major pain cries. The severely injured one was the biggest n healthiest one. The crushed skull one was the runt n the broken necked one was medium sized. Why did she do this?

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      You're very welcome, good luck with the pups!

    • Julia 2 years ago

      thank you!

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      Many mother dogs will push away puppies that have a lower chance of surviving so they can provide first milk to those who are stronger. It could also be she is just licking the small pups but since they are weaker, it looks like she's pushing them away, when in reality they are just unstable. Sounds like you may have to step in and monitor these pups to ensure they stay warm, clean and fed.

    • Julia 2 years ago

      Our golden retriever just had puppies. Shes a good mom except she keeps taking the smallest puppies to another corner of the room. However she will still feed it, but she seems to want it away from the others! A few times she has taken a few of the others along with her, but mostly the smallest one. Any idea why she is doing this?

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      It's not the dog's fault. All mother dogs and their newborn pups should be supervised 24/7 to make sure mother dog is not crushing them or smothering them when lying down. Whelping boxes should have railings to help prevent this, but nothing is better than close supervision.

    • theresa 2 years ago

      my dog just had her puppies on 4 days ago . this is her 3rd time in the passed 2 yrs . she had 9 this time which is the most she has had. 2 of them were stillborn. one had shallow breathing and wouldn't nurse and died 3 hrs after. she has laid on 3 of them now that didn't make it .. one is not looking so good. i am so upset and don't know what to do. my husband is saying its the dogs fault

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      When you make her lay down to nurse, praise and feed her several tid bits of food. You want her to associate nursing with a good experience, as time goes by she should be more willing to nurse as she gets used to it and feels relief from her nipples emptying. Panting after giving birth is not unusual, but because at times it can signal problems, that's why it's so important to have mom and litter seen after whelping. For causes of panting after giving birth, see my article

    • christyosborne 2 years ago

      It's only me here most of the BF works and he's not home till late (and he's not really a dog person). But I'm checking on her several times a day and have only lost one pup since I brought her inside. I found the runt dead this morning which didn't surprise me much since I noticed she was having trouble latching to the teat....maybe because she was so tiny? (about half the size of the rest). So that puts me down to 7 pups from 12...really not that bad considering it's her first litter. She seems much calmer inside. Several times a day I get her to lay down on her blanket and I line up the pups making sure they all find and latch to a nipple, but last night she was being very stubborn about laying curled up in a corner and looking at me like I was an idiot for wanting her to come lay down and feed her litter. I know there will be losses with first litters and (hopefully) she will be better with her next litter (if I let it happen again). At least this was planned and she was matched with a beautiful 3/4 Pitt and 1/4 yellow mountain curr and not some mutt that belongs to someone that doesn't know what a chain, fence or pen is used for. She's been doing a lot of panting lately and I'm worried she may be having a slight milk fever. How can I tell if it's milk fever and not just her being stressed or actually being too warm?

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      You should carefully supervise, taking turns with other family members to ensure the mom doesn't accidentally smother them. That way, you can intervene in a timely matter when you hear the puppy squeal. Is she nursing them and licking them and taking care of them? If not, she may have been too young to be bred and is not mature enough to care for them. You may have to praise her when she allows them to nurse and in some case, take over feeding them and allowing them to eliminate with a moist cloth. There are whelping boxes purposely built with rails to prevent mother dogs from accidentally pinning a newborn puppy against a wall and smothering it. There are some great Facebook groups for novel breeders looking for help. I would join one as there are many experienced breeders who can provide oodles of advice. Best wishes.

    • christyosborne 2 years ago

      I brought the remainder of the pups inside to a room we're not using. Will this help with the accidental smotherings? It should make her feel a bit safer and a bit cooler too...not cold...but cooler than the summer heat outside. Maybe now she'll feel the puppy lump she's laying on?

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 2 years ago from USA

      By digging a hole and laying on top it could be her way of hiding evidence of death as this may in nature attract predators which could be a danger to the remaining living pups. It's important for your dog to focus on the puppies that are still alive than the ones that are dead.

    • christyosborne 2 years ago

      My dog will not push the dead puppies from the rest of the litter. Instead, she digs a small hole...stuffs the dead puppy in it....then lays on it. I don't understand this behavior as I've never seen it before. I have to take her away from the pups so I can remove the dead ones. We started out with 12 and in 2 days we're down to 9. I'm not sure if she's laying on them or stepping on them or what....none have had any visible trauma. Every time I hear a yelp coming from the litter I dread the moment of having to possibly remove yet another dead pup. It's only her first litter and I know she's new to this but I figured she'd know a dead, fly covered puppy from one that's alive and kicking. The first one I found dead was already covered with green flies and their eggs and I tried to put it outside the litter but she'd take it back. It kinda grossed me out. That's when I figured I'd better be more 'sneaky' about removing dead pups from the litter.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

      I'm so sorry to hear that. You must be devastated. Hopefully, you have other puppies to enjoy and take of.

    • sel 3 years ago

      My shih tzu just kill one of her puppies... it was an accident i left the door open and my chihuahua got in the room and don't know really what happened but im guessing my shih tzu had a fight with the chihuahua over a puppy that she finally bite her and made a puncture on the back and on the belly.. she die. :...(

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Sadly, puppies and kittens often die not too long after being born. We have had at least 3 cats have kittens, and it always is a bit traumatic, because usually 1 or more babies die. This is a great hub with useful information. Rated up!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      I think all animals kill their little ones for reason we may never know. Most of the time because their baby is sick.

      We had a rabbit that killed her babies all the time.

      We had a cat that killed one of her kittens but only by accident. We had a place for her and the kittens but she didn't want them there and wanted them in our bed. While carry the kitten to our bed she killed it. The vet said cat's have to learn just like humans how to care for their babies and sometimes carry them wrong.

      We had a ground squirrel in our yard and she kept pushing one of her babies out of the nest. We finally gave up on her and brought him in the house and fed him by bottle. We later figured out he was blind. So maybe that's why she tried to kill him.

      So far we have never had a dog kill her babies but I know my Mom and Dad have.

      Good hub.

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