Here is one question that may be important, irrelevant completely, or mandatory to get answered. Do dogs eat their puppies? Sadly, the answer is yes. If this happens, it will occur immediately after the birth or during the first couple of days. All dog breeds may do this at some point. Keep in mind that other animals might do the same. This has been seen in bears, rodents, birds, lizards, and primates. Although rare it may happen. Below you can see reasons why a dog will do such a thing.
Puppy or puppies are not healthy
Do dogs eat their puppies if they are unhealthy? The answer is maybe. Some dog breeds, especially larger ones will sense when a puppy or multiple puppies are not healthy. They may have respiratory issues or infections. Regardless of the issue if the mother sense that there are huge issues, she may do this! This is more common among large dogs who have large litters where the unhealthy puppy will require a lot more effort and time.
A mother will do this so she can ensure that the rest of the puppies survive. She will also do it out of mercy and put an end to the suffering.
A female dog is too young
Female dogs need to be at least 18 months of age before they should become parents. If they do sooner, they won’t have the maternal instincts and other mental elements needed for this. As the result, she will leave the puppies or she will eat them.
Keep in mind that some dog breeds can become parents at age 1 while others must wait at least 18 months.
Due to cannibalism
This reason is rare and it isn’t as you may think it is. Mothers will use their teeth to remove the placenta from the puppies and eat it in order to recover the nutrients they lost. She will use her teeth to do this. In some cases, a dog may injure or kill a puppy during this process. Although extremely rare among experienced and older mothers, new mothers can make this mistake more frequently.
It is also possible that a puppy was born dead so the mother won’t make a difference while eating the placenta and she will eat the puppy as well.
Issues with hormones
This issue is rare but also the most severe of them all. In the lack of a better word, a female dog won’t recognize the puppies and she won’t believe they are her children! See, during birth, many hormones are released. Some of these hormones should make the female dog see and feel puppies like her children. Without the hormones, she won’t be able to do that so she will consider them as puppies of another dog. As the result, she may kill and eat the puppies!
This issue is common in dogs who delivered the babies via Cesarean Section. These hormones are released when puppies pass the birth canal. When they don’t lass, hormones won’t be released which brings us to the beginning of this issue. There are not a lot of things you can do about it and the best is to raise the puppies by yourself.
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Mother is severely stressful
Birth can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. In general, a mother can make a wrong decision and she may bite, bark or growl on the puppies. This is a severe issue and you do need to act fast. However, you must make sure to do it properly in order to avoid making the situation even worse. All you have to do is to eliminate or decreases stress as much as possible.
Mastitis is an infection that targets the teats of the bitch. It causes red, swollen, and extremely painful teats. Of course, a mother must feed the babies and in this case, this will be extremely painful, almost unbearable. As the result, she will kill and eat the puppies just to stop the pain.
As a dog owner, you do need to react. You will need to take a female dog to the vet immediately. This condition can be successfully treated. On the other hand, you also need to get those kits for feeding the puppies and do it by yourself. It is the only thing you can do to help them survive.
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What you should do?
There are no a lot of things you can do. The best one is to follow the process carefully and detect any issues as soon as possible. Once they are detected, you can work on possible preventions. For instance, a dog will start looking for a den or a nice and cool ‘’nest’’ to give birth. This must happen 1 week before the birth. You can help her find and use a perfect space for this purpose. If she doesn’t do this, it may be a sign of some issue from the above.
You also need to increase the diet by 25% during the last week before she gives birth. This is essential because you don’t want your pet to lose too many nutrients and to be forced to eat puppies.
Keep your eye on the dog during the labor. It is essential to look for certain signs that may tell you something is wrong. For instance:
- If dark green fluid comes out
- If there is no new puppy on sight for 30 minutes or more
- Tremors, spasms, and seizures
- Purulent or bloody discharge
If any of these issues are present, you will need to take a dog to the vet immediately or call one to come as soon as possible.
Do dogs eat their puppies? As you were able to see, yes they can do this. It isn’t a common issue and it almost always affects female dogs, mothers in fact. You need to look for any irregularities during the pregnancy and after birth to make sure this doesn’t happen. In some situations, a professional help is needed.
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