Dogs often become an integral part of our families, and their affectionate behavior towards us can make it tempting to attribute them. Similarly, when a mother dog gives birth to her litter, her nurturing behavior towards her puppies can be a touching display of love.
However, if a mother dog loses her puppies or they are taken away to be rehomed, do they exhibit similar emotional responses to humans? Well, mama dogs do get sad when their puppies sell off too early.
According to vets, separating a dog from her puppies too early or all at once can lead to the mother experiencing feelings of sadness. To prevent this, it is recommended that puppies should stay with their mother until they are at least 8-9 weeks old, and the process of rehoming them should occur gradually, preferably one puppy at a time, to prevent the mother from feeling deprived of her offspring.
However, as time goes by, the hormones in the mother dog’s body begin to decrease, and she starts to distance herself from her growing puppies. Although she will still have some memory and recognition of them, the once-strong attachment between them gradually weakens.
The Bond Between A Dog And Its Puppies
Dogs form a strong bond with their puppies from the moment they are born. This bond is built through physical contact, nurturing behaviors, and the provision of food and protection.
The mother dog will spend most of her time caring for her puppies, teaching them basic skills and behaviors, and providing them with warmth and comfort. This bond is similar to the bond between human mothers and their children.
When the puppies are sold, the mother dog may experience feelings of sadness and loss. She may become more withdrawn or restless and exhibit signs of anxiety or depression.
Just as humans can experience grief when they are separated from their loved ones, dogs can also feel the emotional impact of losing their puppies.
It is important for dog owners to understand the strong bond between mother dogs and their puppies and to take steps to ensure that the separation is as gentle and stress-free as possible for both the mother and the puppies.
Providing a safe and nurturing environment for the mother dog, and allowing her to stay with her puppies for as long as possible before they are sold, can help to minimize the emotional impact of the separation.
Can Dogs Feel Sadness?
It really depends on the individual mother dog, but many of them do feel a sense of loss or sadness when their puppies are sold one by one. They may even search for their missing pups.
In December, our Labrador pet dog named Blessy gave birth to puppies. Once the puppies reached around 8 weeks of age, we put them up for adoption. After the puppies were gone, Blessy searched the entire house for them for some days. We spent more time with her and eventually, she returned to her normal behavior.
As the litter gets smaller and the puppies are weaned, the mother dog may become tired from the constant feeding and care. However, if the puppies are being weaned by their human caregivers, the mother dog may feel relieved to have some time to herself.
By 8 weeks old, the puppies are ready to be sold or put up for adoption and have already started to adjust to being away from their mother for short periods of time. This gradual separation can help the mother dog adjust to the puppies leaving her care.
How Does Selling Puppies Impacts a Mother Dog?
Selling puppies can have a notable impact on the mother dog’s behavior and emotional state. Separation can cause distress and anxiety, which leads to behaviors such as whining, restlessness, and decreased appetite.
Additionally, selling puppies before they are fully weaned can cause physical discomfort and potentially even mastitis in the mother dog. This can lead to a prolonged recovery period and reduced milk production, which can further affect the mother’s emotional state.
Proper care and attention should be given to both the mother and her puppies during and after the separation process to minimize the negative impact on their emotional and physical well-being.
Signs That Your Dog May Be Sad
When puppies are removed from their mother at a very young age, it can lead to certain health and behavioral issues for the mother dogs. Below are some signs that show your dog is feeling sad when you sell off its puppies.
- Loss of Appetite
- Whining or howling
- Excessive licking or grooming
- Excessive sleeping
- Loss of interest in activities
To identify the above signs, it’s important to observe your dog’s behavior carefully and monitor any changes. If you notice any of these signs or are concerned about your dog’s behavior, it’s important to consult your vet to rule out any underlying medical issues and discuss possible behavioral solutions.
How To Help Your Dog Cope With The Loss of Puppies?
Losing a litter of puppies can be a difficult experience for a dog. Just like humans, dogs can experience grief and sadness when they are separated from their puppies. As a pet owner, it’s important to understand what your dog is going through and take steps to help them cope with this loss.
- Show more affection and spend more time with your dog
It’s important to give your dog plenty of love and attention during this time. Spend time playing with them, taking them for walks, and giving them plenty of affection. This will help them feel secure and loved, which can go a long way in helping them cope with their loss.
- Be patient and provide comfort
It’s also important to be patient with your dog during this time. They may seem more withdrawn or less interested in their usual activities, but this is a natural part of the grieving process. Try to keep their routine as consistent as possible, providing them with more comfort. Also as a dog owner, you should understand if they need more time to themselves or seem less energetic than usual.
- Provide toys and belongings to your dog
One way to help your dog cope with the loss of their puppies is to give them a special toy or blanket that belonged to their litter. This can help them feel connected to their puppies, even though they are no longer physically with them.
Additionally, you may want to consider bringing in another dog or pet to help keep your dog company and provide some comfort during this difficult time.
- You should give full access to puppies when it wants
It’s important to be understanding and respectful of a mother dog’s needs. One way to do this is by giving her full access to her puppies whenever she wants them. This means not restricting her access or keeping her away from puppies.
Additionally, it’s important to provide her with a private space where she can retreat to when she wants to be away from her puppies for some time. This could be a separate area or a cozy corner where she can relax and recharge. By doing so, we can help ensure that the mother dog feels comfortable
Is It Cruel To Take The Puppies Away From The Mother Dog And Sell Them?
Separating a mother dog from her puppies can be an emotional experience, but it’s important to do it gradually to avoid causing distress. Remove one puppy at a time and gradually increase the duration of separation. Removing all the puppies at once can cause extreme anxiety and grief.
While it may feel cruel, this is a natural process that also occurs in the wild. Keeping all the puppies with the mother can lead to overcrowding and exhaustion for her. It’s also possible for puppies to be rejected due to illness or biological issues.
The mother’s reaction to motherhood depends on breed and personality. If she’s struggling, distract her with fun outings and attention, reduce her food back to pre-pregnancy levels to encourage milk to dry up, and ensure she has access to her puppies when she wants it.
Regular check-ups with a vet are crucial to ensure the mother’s body is healing correctly and there are no complications. Seeing her puppies interact with their new families before they leave can also help her adjust.
Can Mother Dogs Recall Their Offspring when They Are Brought Back Together?
Yes, mother dogs are capable of recognizing their offspring even after they have been separated for a period of time. This is due to their strong sense of smell and their ability to remember the unique scent of each of their puppies.
Studies have shown that mother dogs can identify and differentiate between their own offspring and other puppies based on their scent alone. Researchers have found that even after several weeks of separation, mother dogs can recognize their puppies.
Additionally, mother dogs may also recognize their offspring through visual and auditory cues, such as the puppy’s appearance and vocalizations. This is particularly true for dogs who have spent a lot of time with their puppies during the critical socialization period when bonds are formed between the mother and her offspring.
What Did We Learn from All This?
Dogs may experience sadness if their puppies are taken away too early or all at once. To avoid this, it is recommended to separate the puppies from their mother when they are at least eight weeks old and to gradually give them to their new owners instead of all at once.
If the entire litter is removed from the mother at once, it can cause significant distress and anxiety for the mother due to the sudden change in her circumstances. To get your dog rid of sadness and separation anxiety, spend more time with, engage it in activities your dog enjoys, and provide plenty of comfort and affection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Male dogs don’t necessarily hate their puppies. However, some may become aggressive towards them due to territorial or dominance, jealousy issues. It’s important for male dogs to be properly trained and socialized to prevent such behavior.
Puppies can recognize and remember their siblings for some time after they leave their litter, but their memory of them may fade over time as they continue to grow and have new experiences. However, socialization with other dogs and animals can help puppies develop and maintain their social skills and instincts.
Although father dogs can exhibit affection and empathy towards puppies, they do not possess paternal instincts that enable them to recognize their offspring. Their reactions towards small pups can vary widely, which is normal behavior. Hence, it is important to introduce male dogs to puppies in a cautious and supervised manner.
The duration of a dog’s mourning period for the loss of their puppies cannot be determined as it varies based on factors such as the dog’s personality and the circumstances of the loss. However, it is crucial to offer emotional support and affection to the mother dog during this phase as she may undergo feelings of distress and grief.
Puppies may experience separation anxiety when they leave their mother and littermates, which can result in temporary sadness or distress. However, with proper care, attention, and socialization, puppies can adapt to their new surroundings and form strong bonds with their new human family.
Yes, puppies can miss their mum after being separated from her. It is important to provide them with adequate socialization and care to help them adjust to their new environment and form healthy attachments with their human caregivers.
I am a pet lover who spent her childhood in the company of a friendly Labrador Retriever. I believe that pets make our lives more enjoyable and stress-free. Currently, I have two budgies Kiwi & Koko, and a puppy named Enzo. So, here I am, attempting to share my experiences and knowledge to improve the lives of pets and pet owners.