Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.
Why Do Dogs Kill Their Puppies?
It is a pet owner's and a dog breeder's worst nightmare: a mother killing her 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 her puppies. Unless you actually see her killing them or acting abnormally, 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 should 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 may 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? This may be a sign that the puppy is not thriving as it should.
What Causes Death in Puppies?
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 nine weeks old. According to Hilltop Veterinary Hospital, the syndrome might be caused by:
- Puppies being too hot or too cold
- The mother neglects the puppies by refusing to lie next to them and nurse them
- Physical defects
If you notice anything of concern, take your dog and litter to your veterinarian.
How to Prevent Death in Your Litter
Puppies are very vulnerable as newborns. To keep them safe and healthy, your best bet is 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 she gives 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 puppies or dead puppies with bite marks, missing heads, or other significant injuries may be safely assumed to have been killed by their mother.
Read More From Pethelpful
Dogs may at times accidentally kill their puppies accidentally 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 dog from accidentally lying on a puppy that may have slipped behind her.
Killing Sick Puppies
Other times, when puppies act sickly or have something wrong with them (which we as owners may not be able to identify), 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 they were 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 have cesarean sections. New puppies might sound like some prey animals (e.g., rodents). Some dogs with rodent-killing heritage might mistake them for prey and feel compelled to eat them.
Problems With Nursing
Mastitis is a condition that makes it very painful for a mother to nurse her young. The pain might be enough for her to reject the litter.
With Careful Observation, You Can Help Prevent Infanticide
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.
- Signs of Retained Placenta in Mother Dogs
nestor4u2 Among one of the complications that may affect the bitch after birth is the issue of retained placentas. The placenta plays a vital role during pregnancy, connecting the puppies to the mother's dog uterine wall.
- How to Prevent, Recognize and Treat Fading Puppy Syndrome
Fading puppy syndrome affects puppies under the age of 12 weeks. Afflicted pups are known as ''faders'.' Such puppies basically fail to thrive and are unable to survive.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: My dog killed two of her pups and ate one so I took them away from her should I re-introduce them?
Answer: Often, when a mother dog kills her puppies like that, the others are at risk. The only safe option at this point is to take the puppies away from her and hand-raise the remaining puppies with a bottle.
Question: My dog has bitten two of her puppies, and she injured one. What should I do?
Answer: You may want to play it safe and keep the pups separated from her and bottle feed them.
Question: Would a dog that kills her pups make a good pet?
Answer: Quite definitely not a good mother. She should be spayed if she has this tendency although some mother dogs may kill pups for some instinctive reasons such as sensing that there is something wrong with them or due to stress or simply being too young. If other than killing her pups this dog has stable temperament in other settings and a good behavior history, I don't see why not she can't make a good pet.
Question: My Frenchie is barking and snapping at her puppies which are 12 days old about two times a day. Why is she doing this?
Answer: Mother dogs may sometimes discipline their puppies, so you need to watch in what context mother dog is doing this. Keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't injure her pups. If her puppies are scratching at her during nursing, you may need to trim their nails. Consider that sometimes behavioral issues in mother dogs may be a sign of underlying medical issues such as low calcium concentrations in their blood (eclampsia) which requires veterinary care.
Question: My dog has smothered 7 of her puppies, what does that mean?
Answer: She may have done this accidentally. This is more likely to happen if you have a whelping box without rails placed around the inside of the box. These allow pups to slide under it and escape from being smothered. However, it may be more likely to happen in new moms who aren't sure what to do with puppies. Normally, when she lies on them, their whines should tell her to move away. Healthy puppies with loud voices are more likely to attract mom than weaker, sickly pups. If this is a problem, you may have to separate the pups once they are done nursing and return them every 2-3 hours to nurse again or you can bottle feed them. Make sure they stay warm if removing them/bottle feeding them. Please read how to properly bottle-feed puppies if you choose that route.
Question: My baby Rottweiler is sleepy and only drinks milk. He won't eat and has diarrhea. He is nine-weeks-old. What is wrong?
Answer: So sorry to hear about your Rottweiler being sick. There are so many things that can be wrong. Your pup may have ingested something he shouldn't; abrupt dietary changes can be a cause and so can heavy intestinal parasite loads and viruses such as parvovirus, especially if he hasn't been vaccinated.
Being such a young pup, there are risks for dehydration if diarrhea and lack of appetite aren't corrected quickly. Milk can, unfortunately, make matters worse. I would consult with a vet on this due to his young age.
Question: My dog keeps carrying the same puppy back and forth. Is this normal?
Answer: There may be a chance that the mother dog has detected something not right in this puppy. It may be the puppy is chilled and unable to feed, or that it might have some congenital disorder, and therefore she is trying to separate it from the other puppies.
Question: What is infanticide?
Answer: Infanticide, is just a fancy term used to depict the intentional killing of an infant (baby).
Question: If the scent of a human gets on a pup, will the mother dog kill it?
Answer: This is not likely. In most cases when mother dogs kill their pup, it's because there is something wrong with the pups or mother dog was simply not mature enough to be a mother.
If your dog is temperamentally adjusted then touching the pups shouldn't be a problem.
Consider, however, that humans may carry viruses such as parvo on their clothing or shoes and pass them to the pups by touching them. This is why many breeders won't allow strangers near the pups and require strict guidelines such as taking off shoes and not handling the pups. The incubation time of parvo (time between transmission and onset of symptoms) is typically 3-7 days.
Question: My momma dog is fussing and growling at her babies. She does like for them to nurse toward the back of body, but she doesn't like them around her face? She had 9. How do I tell if she can be trusted not to hurt them?
Answer: This behavior raises a bit of a flag in the medical department. There may be chances that her behavior may be induced by some medical problem. It would be a good idea to have her checked out. For instance, her front nipples may be sensitive from overzealous nursing and/ or the onset of mastitis and this pain may cause her to growl at the puppies. Something to get ruled out.
Question: Is it okay that I took my dogs' puppies away from her? They are 2 days old and I took them to dock their tails and when I came home I sat with her and the pups for about an hour. She was doing fine, but as soon as I turned my back she tried breaking the puppy's head open. I got scared and brought them inside. Is separating the mother and puppies the best course of action in this scenario?
Answer: Yes, if mother dog had a true intent to do harm (and from the description, it sounds like that) you did the right thing in separating them and keeping them safe. With the puppies having the tails docked, mother dog may have felt there was something wrong with them and her instincts may have prevailed. Hopefully, this is just temporary until those tail stumps heal (any new introduction attempt obviously requires close monitoring) and your dog senses they are normal, healthy puppies again. In the meanwhile, you will have to bottle feed them, help them eliminate and keep them warm.
Question: I believe my female has torn a part of her puppy's ear off, will it live?
Answer: Depending on how bad the tear it is, your pup may need stitches. I'd suggest calling your vet and giving them a description of what has happened and see if they suggest you bring the pup in for a quick check.
Question: This is my dog's first litter, the puppies are 4 1/2 weeks old. I found one dead then another dead the next day, could she be killing them?
Answer: So sorry for the losses. It is difficult to predict what may be going on without knowing all the specifics. There can be various reasons puppies of this age may die and it's not always mother dog's fault especially in older puppies of this age. Possible causes include inadequate milk production, puppies being unable to nurse due to being too weak, mother dog having mastitis, herpesvirus infection, babesia infection just to name a few. It would be best to have the remaining puppies and mom evaluated by the vet to play it safe as there may be something going on that needs addressed.
Question: My pitbull dog just recently gave birth to 13 puppies. After a day she accidentally smothered one of them.The next day when I came to check on her and the puppies she had bit the head off of 1 and the other two were dead. Now all 12 are dead and when I let her out the cage (even tho we have already buried the pups) she keeps digging a hole and going back into her dog house as if she is looking for them. Why and what is she trying to do?
Answer: So sorry for the losses. Most likely her instincts are making her look for them. In the wild, if mother dog would have dead puppies she would eat them to hide their bodies from predators.
Question: My dog just had her babies and she has almost squashed a couple and she has picked them up by the leg and thrown them around and everything, what should I do?
Answer: This behavior sounds concerning. While it is always best to have mother dog care for her babies, if her you are worried about her harming them, you can hand raise them (this means you will take over the task of bottle feeding them, keeping them warm and helping them eliminate). You would basically treat them like orphaned puppies. The other option is to supervise them when she feeds them every couple of hours and take them away in between ( and doing everything else a mother would do). Please be careful taking them away as some mothers are protective of their puppies. You may need to have somebody distract her or take her out. Please note that mother dogs may accidentally crush them, to prevent this it's important to have a whelping box with "pig rails." If you do not have rails in the whelping box, you may need to stick by the whelping box when they are nursing to make sure they are not smothered and that she doesn't harm them in any way.
© 2011 Adrienne Farricelli
Raine on July 07, 2020:
I have a dog who has 4 pups
They were 5 weeks old but every night a puppy dies
There were no scratches or anything
But luckily one of them survived
What is the cause of this?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 29, 2020:
Hi Lorie, it can be she isn't too happy about the location or material of the box and she may be trying to dig a maternity den like dogs used to do in the wild? Just an assumption. Did you check the area she is scratching to see if there's anything unusual? Try to keep the area as quiet as possible.
Lorie Feo on June 23, 2020:
My dog gave birth 2 days ago with 3 pups and just a day ago she keeps on scratching the whelping box. What might be the cause of this and what should I do? Thank you
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 23, 2020:
Most dogs should not kill their pups unless there is something wrong with the pups or the dog is too young or suffers from anxiety or some mental disorder. You can help by making sure she is has a quiet place to raise her pups, watch her carefully the first few days (and nights) and use a whelping box with rails to prevent her from accidentally laying over them.
Izzy on June 22, 2020:
we might breed our dog she is black labrodour and collie but we are worried if she might kill them what will I do? I dont think she will tho
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 15, 2020:
She may not be mentally fit to be a mom, she should be spayed.
Shawn on June 06, 2020:
My dog has eaten every litter she had why is that
Bob Jergonson on April 29, 2020:
Should you prevent a dog from killing her young? If it is natural then humans shouldn’t intervene, correct
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 27, 2020:
Heather, unfortunately, you won't know until they are born. I would keep a close eye on how she behaves around them and sleep close by the first days.
Jade on April 26, 2020:
My dog recently had pups, and she has been picking them up by the head. She’s a pit bull, but it doesn’t look like she’s trying to hurt them.
Heather on April 24, 2020:
I have a 1year 5month old female husky she ended up pregnant and im concerned that she might kill the puppies when thay are born cuz she is still a puppy her self
SHOULD I BE WORRIED
neko on March 10, 2020:
help! my dog is eating her pups! I took the remaining pups away
Avery on March 02, 2020:
i have 27 dogs and they all keep having pups and my Chihuahua took all of her pups to my Yorkie neither of them will feed there puppies what do i do
Luz on February 01, 2020:
Hi! I have a three week old litter and the mother pooped inside the cage and the pups ate some what can I do .
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 31, 2020:
Bea, I would check with a vet on this to make sure she's not suffering from something that is causing her behavior (low calcium levels, mastitis, which can make nursing them painful).
Bea on January 24, 2020:
Do you think if I put the dogs and her pups inside a very private place for them, my dog will not attack her puppies again?? Or it would be better if I just bottlefeed the pups and remove the away from their mother??
Bea on January 24, 2020:
My dog has been acting weird after a week of giving birth to her puppies. I never see her licking her puppies, instead i often hear her growling at them whenever the puppies are crying. She also refused lying with her pups and I also see her trying to grab the head of one of the pups many times. I can say that move is far different from the way she carried her pups when she moved them from one place to another on their first 5 days. What should i do to my dog now?
Stormie on January 17, 2020:
If we had to pull puppies from under a house because they were getting caught up in under pinning and strings ad two died and the mother ripped the head of of one and we have four left should I put the four back outside somewhere that she will find them and see if she will let them feed or what do I need to do
Norma on January 15, 2020:
My mix dog the puppy got near her food and she snap at him on the head and the puppy started getting like seizers and when I checked him he had a bump in forhead and blood was cpming out he was dead I cried felt so bad
Kirsty on December 20, 2019:
My dog had 5 puppies 5 days ago i found 1 dead 7 hours after birth then another 4 days later now she is harming them so i have taken the last 3 pups away from mum . Now mum is barking crying and howling . What can i do or why woupd she been dping this
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 11, 2019:
McCann, it sounds like mother dog is rejecting this pup, most likely because she's weaker. You might have to take over and keep her warm, bottle feed her and help her eliminate by passing a wet warm cloth on her bottom just as mother dog licks with her tongue. You may have to take her to the vet to see if there's anything wrong with her.
McCANN on December 07, 2019:
I went out this morning and found the 5 week old runt removed from the house with the rest of the puppies and mother. She is cold and whining and nursing on herself. I’ve put her on a heating blanket inside and fed her milk through a dropper. She is just whining and crawling around and yesterday she seemed fine. What could be happening and can I save her? This is our Dobermans 3rd litter
Emma g on December 03, 2019:
My dog barely turn one and we found out she was pregnant we didn't know what to do she gave birth only 2 were alive the others were still born she neglected to feed the puppies and in the night ripped apart the puppies and is now refusing to eat what should I do? She also has no more puppies alive sadly
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 25, 2019:
Stephanie, not sure of what you are describing. Are the puppies outside? How old are the puppies? Does she run off when the puppies try to nurse? Is she attacking them?
Stephenie Sherer on November 23, 2019:
My dog has had 1 litter of puppies and did super but the past 2 liters she runs off and has them and comes back with milk dripping but has no interest in going back outside or changing in her normal behavior
Ken on October 30, 2019:
My dog just had a litter, the dad of the litter expresses very little interest but the mom seeks him out to snap at him for no reason. Is this normal? How long will this carry on?
Gourav Kewat on October 25, 2019:
My dog kill her one pup among 5 and eat, what should i do is the other puppies is safe with their mother. I don't know what should i do please help.
Divina on September 26, 2019:
My Yorkie just had a pup. I noticed she’s been moving the pup outside the whelping box away from her. Should I be worried?
Doriahn Swinson on September 18, 2019:
Okay Don't worry, If the female dog is Carrying the Puppy by the head and she is not doing it in a(n) angry way. She's just carrying it around. Make sure she's comfortable where she is and where her Puppies are. Always take them to a vet to get the checked out if they're sick before it becomes to late. My pit bull Terrier gave birth to her first litter of 8. She was acting strange and unsure.She would carry it in her mouth and just look confused on where to go. After a few hours she rejected some and we hand feeded them and cared for them. In the end they all died but this is her first litter and she is still young. Don't worry if she growls at the puppies it may be telling the puppies to calm down. NEVER Handle puppies when their first born because your scent is on her puppies and if it's not her's 3/10 She'll reject them. Let her care for them for at least 2 weeks and Make sure she has plenty of food/Water and space For her puppies don't Stress her out because she may end up Killing them all. I hope this helped you in some way.
Frances on September 14, 2019:
Morher dog attacked her puppy he is breathing but wont move much will it die
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 14, 2019:
Ali, as mentioned in the article there can be several reasons for a mother dog to kill her puppies. Sometimes it is best to not breed these dogs, especially if this has happened twice. The only other option is to remove the puppies and bottle feed them, but this is very labor intensive on your side.
Ali ezzedine on September 11, 2019:
My siberian husky first killed her first time pregnancy puppies..the secon time they were 3 wks old and she ate their heads..whats the reason for doing so and what should be done with her?
Jorge on July 17, 2019:
My Chihuahua have birth to 3 pups but she chewed on one of her Paw's by accident will she service or will she died in the long run
Judy on June 25, 2019:
My neighbor's dog has a litter of puppies about 2 1/2 weeks old. Yesterday she went out to do something with them and 3 of the puppies had had their heads bitten off. Why would the mother do this? Is there a chance she will do it to the other puppies?
Priscilla v on June 25, 2019:
Pups are about 6 weeks old and mamma licks them, knows on their legs and puts their hold head in her mouth, it looks like she wants to try and eat them
Mariel on June 23, 2019:
My dog had 10 puppies only 3 survived and she laid on all of them
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 02, 2019:
Nouf, the puppy may be chilled and not able to feed or there may be a congenital defect with it so she is removing it from the nest and the other pups. It would be a good idea to have this pup see the vet to determine if there's something wrong.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 02, 2019:
Mrs Parker, I find this to be untrue. Most of the breeders I know weigh their puppies daily to ensure they are growing as they should.
Nouf - Sherman Shepard on June 01, 2019:
My dog keeps carrying her one week puppy at the same time back and forth. Is this normal? And the dog is chubby and feeds fine, actually he is the type of baby that whenever she's there he'll feed. Please help because its annoying and I feel she's hurting my baby
ELLIOT on May 23, 2019:
HI MY DOG HAS JUST GAVE BIRTH ALREADY SHE ATE TWO OF HER PUPPIES, I WANNA TAKE THE REST AWAY FROM HER AND WHAT MILK SHOULD I BOTTLE FEED THEM ? PLEASE HELP.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 12, 2019:
Maria, you need to separate the dogs so they cannot harm each others' puppies.
Mrs. Parker on May 07, 2019:
If you touch the puppies the mother will kill them. No scent is to be on the puppies. She will feel as though her space is invaded. I have raised dogs as a child and know alot about bitches and their breed.
Maria on May 06, 2019:
Hi! I have 3 dogs, 2 females and 1 male, well the male got them pregnant at the same time.. now I have 6 pups from one and a week later 6 from the other one. They can not see each other and they are trying to take away their pupps. How do I deal with this? Whats the better thing to do?
Julie on April 23, 2019:
My dog had 14 pups (first liter) . 3 died at birth. One day we woke up and one was up against a wall looked squished then the very next night we go in and two more were dead! About three days go by and we wake up this morning find another one is dead and the smallest one died not long after! The smaller one was always crying and my husband would hold up up to mom to feed so we are at a loss! I’m afraid she is killing/squishing them should we take her out after every feeding and just monitor her while she’s feed them every 3-4 hours?
crystal on April 19, 2019:
my rottweiler gave birth to one puppy and it was dead, could she have eaten the rest? She didnt look pregnant though and I never found any more puppies
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 05, 2019:
Nadirah, mother dogs may accidentally lay on their puppies and this is avoided by using special whelping boxes with rails. If you do not have one, you may need to stick nearby to ensure this doesn't happen. This means also sleeping nearby so that you can quickly rescue any pups you hear that are struggling.
Nadirah on April 04, 2019:
What if she lay on them
And they are crying
Im not sure what she is doing
Michael on March 09, 2019:
My chihuahua had 7 puppies after a section we took the pups home , a day later we brought the mother home, at first she was resting after surgery and didn’t entertain them we are feeding puppies with bottles the next day ruby (mother ) started taking interest looking like she wanted to help now the puppies are used to us feeding them which is fine but when they back in there nest she continues to lick them I know it’s to stimulate toilet time but she only stops when she goes for a wee or poo or food is this normal ??
Lee ping ping on March 08, 2019:
My pitbull growl and bark at her puppies after two weeks born continues 5-6 times is she discipline on her puppies?
Stephanie Mejia on March 01, 2019:
My dog had puppies a few years ago she had 4 in the morning before we left home that day and when we came back she had 3 I never knew what had happened to the other one i never got curious of what could had happened until now
Leslie on February 28, 2019:
My Shih Tzu gave birth yesterday (02/27/19) when her puppies want some milk my dog rejects her and start to aggressively licking her and she bit one of them what should I do
Leslie on February 28, 2019:
My Shih Tzu gave birth yesterday (02/27/19) when her puppies want some milk my dog rejects her and start to aggressively licking her and she bit one of them what should I do ?
Sophie on February 26, 2019:
My dog eat 2 of her puppies and only one survived however we just found the puppy dead because it's been suffocated from the mom. We got her without knowing she was pregnant and we haven't had proper bonding time and the trust we had in her is gone. What to do.
Stephanie2333 on January 19, 2019:
My rat terrier Grace has just had pups, And she's acting different. She picks up the runt and dig under the blankets in the box. She only does it to him. One of the other pups whines alot and I thought he was just hungry but he pulls away from her nipple and I don't know what's wrong. And when all the pups try to nurse she doesn't spread out she curls up. I am really worried because one of her pup had just died. I don't know what to do
Icy wolf_1869 on January 02, 2019:
My dog gave birth on the 30th of dec.and she keeps stepping on her pups every time she comes to her bed and she sometimes lays on the pups and they cry.How can I stop this from happening?
Giselle on December 09, 2018:
My dog gave birth 2 days ago , every 30 min she moves and squishes the puppies and the puppies start crying . How can I prevent that from happening ?
Ruth on October 31, 2018:
My Mastiff had a large litter of 11 pups. The runt died a day and half later. She has been great with the rest I’m very proud of her as a mother. We had an incident where the puppies got close to her food bowl and she snapped at them giving one a bump on head, he was checked by vet and was ok. About a week and half later she bit the same puppy he had gotten out of pen and got close to her food he did not make it. Now I’m worried that this is behavior that isn’t normal, we have kept her away from rest of pups and is supervised when is around them. Was this an animal instinct to protect her food or something worse?
She’s never showed any aggression towards any humans and does very el with any dog that comes around her she is very social. I just don’t want to ignore some possible warning signs.
Thank you in advance
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 08, 2018:
Another possibility may be that she experienced a false pregnancy.
Shakya on October 07, 2018:
I’m hundred percent positive that my dog was pregnant. Swollen milk glands, bloated stomach and all. But after about two days she has no sign of a bloated stomach, refuses to eat and she has milk seeping out of her nipples. But no sign of even one single puppy. Did she eat them all? I’m worried because I don’t know if she even gave birth. Since they do that at night.
Patricia on September 22, 2018:
My dog had three pups and it's been like six hours since they were born and she won't feed them, she growls at them and tries to bite them. Now she is panting like she is in labor still! What's going on?
Gilert Lee on September 22, 2018:
A litter of 3 yorkshire terriers and 1 of them is only 1/3 the size of the other 2. The mother seems to be rejecting it.
Vamp on September 09, 2018:
My dog has 2 puppies they are like 3 or 4 months old and mom dog always trying to kill one puppy and always care about the 2nd one she plays with second one. She is always trying to kill first one even mom dog nd second puppy both attacks on first one i dont know why i hit my dog nd second puppy to save the first one .. why they are doing like that
Yayla on August 15, 2018:
I have multiple dogs and the females are jealous of each other and kne of tbe females attacked a puppy while the mom was away but now the puppy wont stop crying and the mom keeps wining at it whats wrong
Kandy on July 04, 2018:
My dog had a pup pop out on floor that she ignored. I thought it was dead but then realized it was not. I proceeded to clear away the sac and cut umbilical cord. I left and cam back to check on my dog and she had a new pup. But it wasn't the same pup. What happened. I dont see the first pup anywhere.. Did she eat it? Was that my fault because i cleaned the pup?
Sinead on July 03, 2018:
My dog had her first pup .she keeps grabbing her head in her mouth what do I do .
Vicki on May 28, 2018:
My dog had her first litter of puppies she had 7 every time i put a puppy or two by her nipple she trys to bite their head should i be worry
Lola sue on May 23, 2018:
What would my doggies nipples really look like after birth? She stays outside so I really don't no of she has her puppies but 3 nipples looked like they have been sucked on
Pinsher oiwner on May 18, 2018:
This is the 1st time for my pinsher, she gave birth to 3 and she acted very strange and abnormal.
1st she acted like she don't even care
2nd she refused to nurse them
3rd she bites them everywhere and was like trying to eat parts of them, they died with a bunch of holes everywhere.
even when I tried to make her nurse them, she either attacks me or the puppies, god what a stuff Ive seen today, I owned different breed before and this is the 1st time I see something alike.
Rachel on May 18, 2018:
My English bull terrier had 8 pups one stillborn the 7th was weak an a could of days later she ate it now she’s pickin another pup keepin it away with her n is acting like she is guna eat thi
Anne on May 09, 2018:
My dog killed one of her puppies that wouldn't let the rest of the litter eat. She seemed sad and upset the rest of the day and just kept her head down. Should I have removed him before? He was already eating dog food on his own. And my dog to me other than that was an excellent mom and I feel like it was more for survival reasons, that she did what she felt she needed to do for all the other puppies seemed so thin compared to him, he had a pretty big belly
Rachel Davis on May 09, 2018:
I dog is choosing to stop feeding one puppy she had 9 and 3 died but not at birth they died like on the second day of birth one died then a week later another passed then the last one just died three days ago. I have milk but want to give her the opportunity to care for her baby’s. Now there is another one which is number six he is the smallest I tried to feed him today and he dosent want the milk how can I get him to eat ???
Stacy on April 21, 2018:
My doberman had a femal pup around 9am then 4hours later had puppies 2 girls 1 boy. awhile after had 1 more girl. The male pup was found dead. Not sure why. The next day around 10pm she has another male which is found dead. I'm not sure if she's compelty done. But why is this happening?
Randy on April 03, 2018:
Hey the Mom dog just bit the 5 day old puppy Now bleeding looks like it’s going to die but why is the mom doing his
Aamir on March 19, 2018:
Hey hi my female German shepherd gave Birth to 7 puppies but she ate 3 of them pls tell me what to do ????
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 17, 2018:
So sorry to hear about losing all your puppies to mother dog eating them. There can be various reasons, mother dog may have been stressed, not mature enough to have puppies or perhaps she senses something wrong with them. I would suggest spaying her as this may happen again in the future. Again, so sorry.
chainzzz on March 14, 2018:
my pure breed german shepherd just put forth healthy puppies and ate them all, what caused that if i may ask?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 07, 2018:
Alysia, did she eat the dead one? If so, unfortunately this is not unusual. It's an instinct to hide the carcass from potential predators.
alysia on March 05, 2018:
my dog just had puppies she had a total of 8 one died and then hours later she ate one is this normal
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 18, 2018:
Dana, bring your pup to your vet if the pup is cool and not moving much, sounds worrisome. Likely mom is rejecting the pup because she senses something is wrong with him/her.
Dana on February 15, 2018:
My yorkie had a pup last sat. The pup has been doing so good and she has been a good mom. I hot up this morning and the puppy was laying at the front of the box while she laid at the back. Every time I move it to her she puts space in between them. What do I do? The pup is already not moving as much and it feels so cool
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 07, 2018:
She may be too young, inexperienced or may be stressed. The pups may have health issues. Several possible factors. You will have to bottle feed the pups if her behavior may cause harm.
anna on February 01, 2018:
why does my dog growl and snip at her puppies ?there only 2 days old...???
Me on January 08, 2018:
I have never had a dog kill her puppies. Only had a few puppies die of fire ant's and that wasn't nice. Since they where up and about with there eyes open
My dog just had puppies a week ago and I never read up on puppies till now. All this that I read sounds sad. But I have always been told mother knows best, let them be. Then I all ways monitor, interfere, pay attention, adjust, fuse, rearrange, try to spot problems real or imagined ones and fix them . I like to be aware of my dogs needs.
I even have a method to help wean the puppies when their eyes open and they are walking around. Take them to the water bowl and put a drop of water on there noise and they will lick it off and in doing so they will end up dipng there chin in and licking it and so forth of course not every time. Works better with goat milk.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 05, 2018:
John, there are several projects on the web, some use PVC pipe. Look up "pig rails for whelping boxes" good luck.
john belo on January 02, 2018:
how do I install railings to prevent her from sleeping on top of the puppys
Jackie Dee on December 04, 2017:
My dog just gave birth 5 puppies. It's their 3rd day today. I am worried because every time she wean and try to dig in and outside of the whelping box when she get near to the 2 same dog she looks like she is going to bite them. I caught her maybe 5 time doing the same to those 2 same puppies? Can you please explain what's going on to her what should I do? Thank you and please reply...
JD on September 11, 2017:
I just want to THANK MK for her comment a 5 months ago! Everyone should read it and learn from it! I am not a breeder but my mother is and everything MK says is right on the money! Thank you!
Meliah on September 06, 2017:
wow this is crazy. my dog is i believe about 3 months pregnant and it scares me because she is not even a year old shes 11 months and i know she is different ever since she has gotten preg and i hope that she doesnt eat the babies cause she is very unexperienced and doesnt understand whats going on but idk cause she is very smart and she may be a good mother
Lynne on July 28, 2017:
My pitbull don't want her pippie to drink on her
Beonca on July 20, 2017:
my dog had her puppies 2 weeks and they are in good health, one day my nephew decided to hold a puppy at 2 weeks old and we put the puppy back down, a couple minutes later my dog was barking at it and and clawing at it I got her to stop but now I'm scared what should I do?
A on July 04, 2017:
Hello. My dog has just had a litter, it's her first and was unplanned. There was some complications and ended in an emergency c-section. The littler was of seven but we lost one in the c-section, we also lost the runt so then there was five. Mum was doing really well, nursing and toileting them as she should, then one of her pups got out of the cage. Mum dog killed the pup we think by accident (thinking she didn't know how to pick the pup up gentle enough) this happened again about aweek later. Is this uncommo? Was this an accident? Does she not have that instinct? Could it be because it's a first litter and she's an older dog? Help...
Chienne on July 03, 2017:
My dog killed a puppy and injured two I'm scared to leave puppies around her to nurse I can't afford supplement milk so I've been pureeing dog food for them but I know it's not enough nutrients to keep them healthy what should I do
Dawn on July 01, 2017:
My dog snaps at her puppies when she is eating and the puppies try to disturb her i fear she might end up killing them how do i solve this
gerard carroll on June 06, 2017:
i had a Yorkie for 17 years i had to get her to sleep due to illness she had a put whit her since she was born is she missing her mother what can i do she looks lost poor baby is her name she is so small hope you can help me regards gerard
Kenneth makino on June 03, 2017:
Hi . I see my dog ates her own new born puppies. Why?
And what should I've do?
My uncles and aunties is planing and thingking if the dog is ...
A actually eat her own puppies so they wanted to kill the dog...
KaLynn Cooper on June 01, 2017:
Jackie, I don't know what breed your dam is but it sounds like she is nervous and uncomfortable in the area you have chosen for her and the babies. Get her a larger metal dog crate, place it in an area that is quiet. Put a clean sheet and a towel on the floor of the crate/kennel. Put her babies in the crate. She will follow. Close the door to the crate and drape a clean sheet and an unused blanket over the crate, covering top and sides. This will create a "den" type atmosphere for her, making her feel safe with her babies. Be sure not to cover the door to the crate so you can let her out quickly to do her business. Keep children and other pets away from her. A pet store will have a water bowl that connects to the side of the cage. Make sure she always has water. I also keep a bowl of dry kibble in the crate.
She should settle down and not try to move pups, and the pups will stay warm.
Hope this helps. Good luck :)
Crystal on May 30, 2017:
My Shih Tzu just had puppies the last one was weak the a hour later I realize that she killed it what should I do
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on May 27, 2017:
Sounds like a trip to the vet is in order, could be a case of mastitis in mother dog or a uterus infection or low calcium levels and the puppy sounds like it's struggling.
Steph on May 23, 2017:
My girl has her litter of pups just going into the 2 weeks range at the moment and I'm not to sure would be lovely for a little advice more to why mother is still loving one pup but the puppy doesn't seam to be doing to we'll slow breathing won't take from titt crying heaps very quiet unless something changes she crys way louder lack of energy & temperature was 33.6 Thanking you
Jackie on May 12, 2017:
My dog just had puppies to days ago she has 5 but she takes them out of the house in the house & 2 already died because they weren't warm. What can I do.