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Why Does My Dog Separate One Puppy From The Rest?



why does my dog separate one puppy from the rest

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Why does my dog separate one puppy from the rest? A puppy separated from the rest of its litter is an unfortunate event. It’s an indication that something isn’t right with the pup, and it needs to be checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible. So when you see your dog separating one puppy from the rest of the litter, it can indicate something isn’t right with that particular puppy.

why does my dog separate one puppy from the rest
Careful mother beagle feeding cute little pups, isolated on white background

What Are the Signs of a Dog Mother Rejecting her Puppies?

The most obvious sign that a mother dog rejects her puppies is when she stops licking them.

The first puppy, born around six to twelve hours after the rest of the litter, will be licked more than his brothers and sisters.

As each pup follows in birth order, he will receive progressively less attention from his mother until none of the babies are being licked by mommy — regardless of how hard they try to get her attention!

Another sign that a mother may reject one or more of her pups could be if she spends time away from them.

A young female may not have enough experience with canine births and assume that something has gone wrong with delivery when nothing further happens during what should have been an hour-long ordeal for both herself and her pups.

She probably won’t realize it’s because several little ones are inside nursing their bellies entirely rather than just one big baby as there would typically be in a single puppy birth.

Why Would a Mother Dog Reject Her Puppies?

A mother dog may reject her puppies for several reasons.

Sometimes, it is because she feels overwhelmed with caring for them.

This can occur if the dam has more pups than she feels capable of raising and if this is her first litter.

First-time mothers feel especially unsure about how to care for their puppies, and they often need help from experienced dams to know what they should be doing in different situations (for example, how much or little food to feed them).

In addition, if a female dog has not been exposed to other pregnant dogs or puppies before having her litter, she may feel like no one understands what she is going through.

Also, some dams get so nervous that they cannot produce enough milk; sometimes, just being around other nursing mothers helps them relax enough to let their milk flow freely again.

In addition, after giving birth, an animal’s body goes through many changes, which are exhausting in nature; additional stress on top of those that the dam may be experiencing through pregnancy can cause her to reject one or more of her puppies.

Treating Puppy Rejection in a Mother Dog

If you think the mother dog is rejecting her pups because she is excessively tired or overwhelmed, you should be prepared to aid her in her care wherever possible.

If your dam has not been stimulated during labor, this may harm her ability to bond with and nurture her offspring, so both dams and puppies must be checked as soon as possible after birth for any potential problems.

If a pup(s) do not automatically latch on to the teat, try introducing them yourself — get your dam to lie on her side and place the puppy(s) near their respective teats (one at a time), so they can naturally latch themselves onto their mothers when they feel ready.

Why Does My Dog Separate One Puppy From The Rest?
female Belgian shepherd and her very one-day young puppies

Why Do Dogs Kill Their Puppies?

Why do dogs kill their puppies? That’s the question many people ask after finding a young dog dead on the ground. And unfortunately, there is no simple answer.

Some mothers kill only one puppy; others may destroy all of them—even if they’re not nursing any other offspring.

While some cases are intentional, most are thought to be accidental and stem from several possible causes.

Common reasons mother dogs kill their puppies include:

If you come home to find your dog with a dead puppy in her mouth, it doesn’t mean she mistreated or neglected her litter while you were away. Instead, she might have accidentally killed an infant while trying to move it or mouthing it too aggressively during playtime.

Unfortunately, many owners reported just such behavior by their pups when they were first teething!

Leading Causes of Infanticide in Dogs Although no two cases are precisely alike, there appear to be common threads among those where postpartum infanticide has been observed.

These include:

  • Pregnancy and lactation stress
  • Lack of mother-infant attachment
  • Depression, anxiety
  • or other behavioral problems in the dam (also known as “separation anxiety”)
  • A history of maternal aggression toward her puppies (if she was aggressive with her litter before)

What to Do If You Find a Dead Puppy When you come home from work to find your dog standing over the dead body of one of her pups, there’s nothing you can do but make sure that she doesn’t have any more.

No matter how traumatic this experience might be for you, it would help if you didn’t punish your dog for being confused by what she sees.

Instead, it may be helpful to take a moment to explain what is happening and why and reassure your dog that everything is alright.

In Most Cases. In most cases, postpartum infanticide is a tragic accident; however, there are some instances where the mother killed the deliberately.

Is She Killing Them?

And now for the bad news.

Because parvo is so contagious and you could have been exposed to it even before you brought her home, if one of your adult dogs has contracted this disease and passed it on to her, there’s a chance that she will get sick well.

Now don’t panic!

Unless you see her killing them or acting abnormally, it would be unjust to assume she is doing it.

There are many possibilities: they may not be eating correctly (for example, needing more calcium) or getting enough water; they may have picked up parasites; their teeth may be bothering them, etc.

Suppose one of your puppies does show signs of being in trouble.

In that case, they should receive immediate veterinary care – but make sure that he hasn’t just swallowed something inappropriate like an eraser or some other non-digestible item!

Ordinary Puppy and Mother Interaction

Why Does My Dog Separate One Puppy From The Rest?
female Belgian shepherd and her one-day young puppy

At birth, puppies are blind and deaf but can hear the muffled sounds of their mother’s heartbeat.

Within a few hours after giving birth, the bitch (mother dog) will start cleaning up her puppies.

She will use her tongue to clean them off and stimulate them to eliminate them by licking their bottoms.

Because newborns cannot regulate body temperature very well at first, they will also do this for warmth; it is essential that you not interfere with this process, as stimulation of elimination helps prevent future urinary tract problems in your dog.  

It may be tempting to want to hold or pick up your puppy too soon, but it’s best if he is allowed to bond naturally with his mother during these first days, so resist the urge!

Puppies usually begin nursing within a day or two after they are born.

They frequently nurse at first—about every hour throughout most of the day and night during daylight (except when she goes out), gradually increasing the time between nurses until they settle into an 8-hour routine.

The bitch (mother) will continue to clean the puppies and stimulate them to eliminate them until she is done nursing.

She will also begin to eat herself, but not all of her puppies at once; instead, she’ll take turns with each one, alternating between two or three at a time.

If you’re lucky enough to have multiple litters in your house simultaneously, it may be helpful to rotate them so that one set gets more attention from their mother than another.

The first week after birth is critical for puppies—they are vulnerable and need lots of help from the dam (mother).

Puppies whose mothers do not nurse often die within hours because they do not get enough nutrients or energy during this period.

As soon as the litter has been weaned off its mother’s milk, please ensure plenty of food is available throughout the day. Weaning usually takes about ten days.

One Way to Help

The process of having their first shots can be terrifying for puppies.

They are taken from the comfort of their home and put into a strange place with people they don’t know, all while feeling vulnerable and insecure.

Puppies also feel scared after getting their shots because they have been injected with a foreign substance that will make them feel sick by causing inflammation.

However, how you help reduce these fears is up to you.

Still, one way is to give your puppy some additional love and care right after its shot session has ended so it doesn’t feel alone or abandoned, which could significantly increase its stress level, making it more difficult for them to recover from its ordeal.

Just wet a cotton ball with warm water and gently pass it on his bottom as if mimicking what a mother dog would do when licking her pups clean after birth.

Do not use anything other than a cotton ball, as using things like tissues can hurt your puppy’s wounds or cause further damage to its anus.

It is advised to keep your puppy isolated from other dogs for the first few weeks after its birth to heal and grow stronger before being introduced to other dogs.

If you have more than one litter of puppies, make sure each litter gets some time with its mother, and if possible, you should divide up the time between them by at least a week ap, art, so they get enough time bonding with her.

To keep them from getting too attached but still being able to interact, try keeping them in different rooms or areas of your home instead of having them all in one place together, which would create anxiety issues and could easily lead to fights among the pups.

Remember that puppies need lots of help during this process—please do not overdo it!

Your puppy needs love, food, and attention right after administering shots; take things slow! 

What Causes Death in Puppies?

When a puppy dies, it may result from something that is not easily identified.

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

  • Puppies being too hot or too cold
  • The mother neglects the puppies by refusing to lie next to them and nurse them
  • Physical defects
  • Infections

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

The most common cause of death in puppies is an infectious disease (such as distemper). Being orphaned can also indicate this problem.

How to Prevent Death in Your Litter

Many dog owners and breeders are taught that you should come back to check on the mother with her puppies 24 hours after giving birth for a “follow-up” visit.

However, this is an outdated view of what’s best for your pet family.

In general, you should always take the mother along with her puppies to see a veterinarian 24 hours after she gives birth—even if all appears well at first glance—to ensure there are no retained placentas (there may be more than one) and that the puppies are in good health.

Retained Placenta, A common cause of death around puppy birth is when a female doesn’t expel her afterbirth (the placenta).

If left inside, it can rot or get infected, leading to septicemia (blood poisoning), killing dogs quickly; some infections will continue spreading even if the placenta comes out on its own.

Infections from retained tissue aren’t always fatal, but they can lead to long-term health problems, like chronic abscesses, which can cost a lot of money.

If your dog is having trouble giving birth and you suspect she may be retaining her placenta, it’s best to go to the vet immediately.

She should get an ultrasound or x-ray to rule out retained tissue before any medications are given for pain relief. 

Why Does My Dog Separate One Puppy From The Rest?
mother Belgian shepherd malinois and her young puppies

Why Would She Do It?

When a litter of puppies disappears or is found dead, it is natural to want to blame the mother.

Although this may be true in some cases, there are other possible explanations for what happened.

The first thing that must be determined when a puppy vanishes is whether the disappearance was due to a canine attack or human intervention.

If any part of a puppy has been bitten off and remains with the body (for example, ears or tail), then it’s safe to assume that the rest of the pup was eaten by its mother.

This could happen if she became over-stressed from caring for too many dogs at once and took care of one problem at a time by moving on from the weakest puppies to strong ones.

Accidental Killing

Accidental killing is a primary concern for dog owners.

For example, dogs often kill puppies lying near their mother’s tails or step on them while walking by.

These accidents could 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

Most mother dogs are very loving with their children, but some may be more aggressive.

This is most likely to occur when the puppies are young, or their number increases.

It can happen for several reasons: the mother may be protective of her pups and not want them to get sick; she doesn’t know what’s causing the illness and is trying to protect her babies from it, or the puppies may have been exposed to something that has made them very sick.

Another reason mothers sometimes eat their puppies is overpopulation in the area where they live.

The mother’s instinct will tell her to kill off one or two of them so she has enough food and resources to care for the rest of her litter.

Why Does My Dog Separate One Puppy From The Rest?
puppy and mother purebred Belgian shepherd malinois

Inexperienced or Unstable Mothers

Dogs that have not been bred to be good mothers should never be allowed to breed again; puppies from the first litter are often weak and undersized.

These pups also may suffer emotional or physical problems due to a lack of maternal care and interaction.

If you find yourself with a dog who is being too rough on her young, consult your veterinarian or local animal behaviorist for advice.

Lack of Recognition

Some dog experts believe that a lack of early socialization and training and a history of rodent hunting may contribute to this behavior. 

This tendency can be dangerous if the dog perceives something as prey rather than a puppy.

Use childproofing methods to keep your distance from vulnerable puppies.

Supervise its interactions with the puppies; if they get a hold of one of them, quickly take it away without scolding or punishing him; doing so could make your pet feel anxious about interacting with you around puppies in the future.

You can also distract them by throwing a ball or giving them another toy to chew on.

Why Does My Dog Separate One Puppy From The Rest?
female purebred Belgian shepherd malinois and her puppy

Problems With Nursing

Mastitis is a bacterial infection of the breast tissue occurring in lactating females.

Mastitis may be acute or chronic and can result from infectious agents and noninfectious factors.

The most common cause is an ascending infection by bacteria such as Staphylococcus (staph), Streptococcus (strep), and Escherichia coli (E. Coli).

Though mastitis usually occurs during the latter stages of pregnancy, it sometimes begins after delivery as the mother’s milk appears before her immune system has had time to respond fully to these foreign invaders.

Once established, mastitis can become extremely painful for affected individuals resulting in their rejecting litter when nursing becomes more than they can tolerate due to pain.

With Careful Observation, You Can Help Prevent Infanticide

Infanticide (also called neonaticide ) occurs when a mother dog kills one or more of her puppies.

It’s not common, but it does happen.

If you are breeding your dog, ensure that she receives plenty of attention and affection before birth so that she will be less likely to kill any puppies after birth.

Also, keep an eye on the mother and new litter for any signs of infanticide.

If you notice anything suspicious such as the mother showing aggression toward her pups or picking them up by their necks instead of carrying them with their feet touching the ground, immediately separate the litter from the dam and seek veterinary advice if there is no improvement in behavior within 24 hours.

Conclusion and final thoughts 💭

In conclusion, you should have the very best understanding of your canine and how to manage it.

It’s also worth noting that dogs are good at reading people, so if they sense that you’re unhappy with their behavior, this can cause them to become even more aggressive.

Dogs need a substantial amount of exercise every day.

The dog will not get bored or depressed as soon as he has discovered the place is safe.

Several small dogs might be kept in apartments since they require less space than a big dog.

It is possible to select from many different breeds of small dogs, including Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, and Yorkies.

Unfortunately, they don’t possess the physique to make great yard guardians.

The dog should not be alone in a room, as it could damage his hearing.

The dog must also be taught that the human’s voice is more critical than other noises and commands.

The best solution to deal with this problem is always to give your pet plenty of attention and exercise to develop a strong bond with you.

Your puppy might begin playing very aggressively or may nip at people out of jealousy for the attention he receives from you.

You can stop this behavior by simply telling your dogs that they are not allowed to play rough with each other around you or any of your guests.

It’s possible, though rare, for a small dog to bite someone without meaning to harm them on purpose since their mouths are so tiny!


Does a mother dog have a favorite puppy?

There’s no scientific evidence that mother dogs have any specific preference for one puppy over another.

Still, it’s generally thought that they develop some bond with their puppies.

Dogs are pack animals and typically prefer to live in groups, so it’s natural to form attachments to their offspring.

What do you do when a mother dog rejects a puppy?

If a mother dog rejects her puppy, the best thing to do is find a new home for the puppy as soon as possible.

The mother dog may be too aggressive or not have enough milk to care for the puppy.

Why does my dog keep hiding her puppies?

There could be several reasons why your dog is hiding her puppies.

Some reasons could include that she is afraid of people, she is protecting her puppies from danger, or she is not yet entirely comfortable with her new surroundings.

Suppose you are concerned about your dog’s behavior.

In that case, it is best to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to help determine the root cause of the issue and develop a plan to help address it.

Why do dogs pick up their puppies?

Dogs pick up their puppies to move them to a new location.

Why does my dog keep putting her puppy in her mouth?

There could be reasons why your dog is putting her puppy in her mouth.

One possibility is that she is trying to show dominance over the puppy.

Another option is that she tries to comfort the puppy.

Dogs often lick and chew on their puppies to provide them warmth and security.

How to stop my dog from moving her puppies?

You can do a few things to help stop your dog from moving her puppies.

One is to keep her in a confined space, like a kennel or crate, so she can’t move around.

You can also put something like a cone or Elizabethan collar on her so she can’t reach them.

Lastly, if all else fails, you can have a vet take the puppies away and bottle-feed them until they’re old enough to be weaned.

Will my dog reject her puppies if I touch them?

No, your dog will not reject her puppies if you touch them.

Dogs are typically very nurturing and protective of their young, often allowing people to handle them without problems.

However, it is always best to ask your dog’s owner if it is okay to pet their puppy before you do so to be safe.

How much time should the mom dog spend with puppies?

Mom’s dog needs to spend time with her puppies, but the best time depends on the individual situation.

If the mom can nurse and care for her puppies around the clock, she doesn’t need to spend as much time with them as a dog who can’t take care of them.

Generally, it’s a good idea for a mom dog to spend at least a few hours per day with her puppies.

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