Has your dog just sprouted a litter of puppies? Is this your first time and you do not know how to go about it? Is separating puppies from their mother cruel? All of this and more, as we briefly explore the ins and out of the early phases of canine motherhood.
When to Remove Puppies
Generally speaking, the longer you can give the mother time with her puppies the better. As a rule of thumb, you can more or less safely remove the puppies at around 7-9 weeks.
Very often, the mother will start to snap at her puppies, almost offering a symbolic gesture that lets us know that she has done her job now and is ready to let them go. It can be easy to spot this, but how to tell if your dog is pregnant?
At around the 7-week mark, a mother will inherently start to distance herself from the puppies, the psychological distance increasing up to nine weeks when she more or less separates herself completely.
These numbers are relative, however, as some breeds are said to be better off left until at least 12 weeks. Dogs of this variety that are taken away too early are said to develop behavioral issues that a new owner might have to deal with, that they might not have learned the basics from their mother yet.
Is It Okay To Separate Pups and Moms?
Indeed, it is a perfectly natural part of the process. Allegedly, before full-scale domestication, dogs would have split up of their own accord to avoid incest and inbreeding, which inevitably lead to the fostering of evolutionary defects from DNA.
A mother’s hormones will be high after pregnancy, decreasing gradually over the following weeks until they have decreased sufficiently by 7-9 weeks for the removal of the puppies, though not all at once!
The mother will naturally distance herself from the puppies at this point anyhow, and thus will be at least a little relieved to be rid of their youthful energy, giving her some rest so that her shrunken paps might heal.
Separating Puppies from their Mother: Relativity
This is all relative to the individual dog, though. Some can react very badly to the removal of their puppies from them, even going so far as to adopt surrogate puppies or young from other species so they can use their motherly instinct.
Some, by contrast, will begin to get incredibly aggressive towards their young if they stick around for too long.
Every dog is different and you should adjust your behavior accordingly.
Here are some condensed pointers for preparing to remove the puppies:
- Try to remove the puppies at the right time – this is difficult to gauge but you should be able to get a feel for it.
- Give the mother full access when she wants it but also a place to retreat.
- Slowly reduce her food intake to pre-pregnancy levels so her supply of milk naturally dries up. (If your dog is still feeding young puppies though, check out our post on increasing a dam’s milk.)
- Be wary of the mother and her emotions at all times.
Is Separating Puppies From Mother Cruel – Last Bark
So, there you have it! Hopefully, you are now ready to assess your dog’s emotions and take her pups when she and the pups are well and truly ready.