Updated at: 18-01-2022 - By: petstutorial

A dog can resort to cannibalism if she does not recognize her puppies as her own young, which would be down to hormonal issues. During the delivery of a litter, dogs produce hormones, and some of them are responsible for identifying the puppies and creating an automatic maternal bond.


How do I stop my dog from eating her puppies?

It’s rare for mothers to eat their babies, but it can still happen. The best thing you can do to prevent this behavior is to keep a watchful eye. Pay close attention to the health of the puppies and their overall development. Also, monitor the mother’s behavior and interactions.

Is it normal for a dog to eat its own puppy?

Cannibalism is rare in dogs, especially if the litter is birthed (whelped) in a home environment as opposed to a loud or crowded kennel. Puppy cannibalism can occur at birth or even after a few days of life. Female dogs of any breed or mix of breeds can cannibalize their puppies.

How do I know if my dog is rejecting her puppies?

If your dog is lying or sitting away from the litter for long periods, it’s likely she may have rejected them. She may also show signs of stress and in some cases may physically pick up and move the puppies away from her. Another clear sign of potential rejection is if you hear excessive cries from the litter.

Why does my dog keep bringing me her puppies?

It is their way of showing how comfortable they feel around you and how much trust goes into your relationship. It could also be that the momma is extremely proud of her puppies and she simply wants to show them off.

Do mom dogs eat their puppies poop?

Yes, dogs eat poop, no matter how horrified the owner may be. But eating poop-technically known as coprophagia-is actually a common canine behavior. When puppies are first born, mother dogs clean their puppies and ingest their feces and urine in the process. And yes, cat mothers do the same thing.

Do female dogs recognize their puppies?

Female dogs will always recognize and remember their puppies after a few days without contact. This is especially true when the puppies are young. The more defenseless and weak a puppy is, the stronger the protective instinct the mother will feel towards them.

Do dog fathers know their puppies?

A quick answer to this complex question is that male dogs do not really recognize their puppies. Male dogs are able to understand that litter is now part of the household. They are also able to recognize that a litter belongs to a particular female.

Can a dog only have one puppy?

The reality of course is that litters are much smaller in size, and that it’s even possible for dogs to have a litter of just one puppy. Though rare, these “singleton” puppies, as they’re colloquially known, have unique care needs.


6 Reasons Why a Dog May Eat Her Puppies

1. Accidental Cannibalism

It isn’t always an intentional act, especially for first-time or very young Mothers. It can simply be a case of inexperience. When a puppy is born, it is born within a sac that the mother uses her teeth to free her baby. There are times when this won’t go particularly smoothly and result in the accidental death of a puppy.

A Mother will also eat the placenta as a way to recover much-needed nutrients lost during the pregnancy. It isn’t uncommon for a puppy to die in the womb before birth. When this is delivered, the Mother may not even recognize it as a puppy and eat it as though it was part of the afterbirth.

2. An Unhealthy Pup

Not all puppies are born strong and healthy. Some are sick with infections, respiratory problems, or congenital disabilities that will result in a range of health complications. You may be able to spot a poor puppy after delivery, but so can Mom.

Especially for large dog breeds who are prone to larger litters, there can be just too many pups for a dog to be able to manage comfortably. If she has a poorly puppy who requires extra care and time, she may make the tough decision to take that puppy out of the litter.

This would be considered a mercy killing as it ends the suffering of the poorly pup and ensures the rest of the litter’s survival.

3. A Stressed Mom

Pregnancy and birth is a stressful time for any Mom, dog, human or other. Your dog will be scared, exhausted, and overwhe med, which can sometimes lead to bad decision-making.

A female dog can lose her temper with an entire litter of wailing pups and growl, bark, or even bite them. With predatory instincts kicking in, cannibalism can be the result in rare cases.

There are ways you can help alleviate her stress, but these must be preventative measures, which we will discuss below. If you try to intervene when she is already in a mental crisis, you risk making the situation worse or even ending up being attacked yourself.

4. Mastitis

Mastitis is a serious condition that can cause a great deal of pain for a Mom and lead to many complications for her litter too. It is an infection of the breast tissue that can occur after delivery. Her teats will become incredibly sensitive, red, and swollen, making feeding her puppies painful.

5. Hormonal Problems

This is one of the saddest reasons, and there is very little you can do, aside from rearing the litter yourself. A dog can resort to cannibalism if she does not recognize her puppies as her own young, which would be down to hormonal issues.

When puppies aren’t delivered through the birthing canal, the necessary hormones for bonding don’t always come. A female dog can awake from surgery to find herself surrounded by screaming pups she doesn’t recognize as her babies. Generally, pretty quickly, she will tend to them instinctively. But at times, a prey drive can kick in, and she will attack the unfamiliar, noisy small creatures she has discovered next to her.


6. Too Young to be a Mommy

The last reason why dogs eat their puppies is that they’re just not ready to be a Mom. It is advised for a bitch to wait until she is at least one year old. However, different breeds mature at different rates. Therefore it is recommended to wait until a female dog reaches between 18 months to two years of age before breeding.

When a dog is bred too young, they’re just babies themselves, without the maturity to care for anything properly. An unprepared Mother can exhibit behaviors that are anything but maternal. She may show no maternal instincts and simply abandon a litter, or she may react in fear of the unknown and resort to cannibalism to get away from the scary, unfamiliar situation she has been put in.

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