Why Do Female Dogs Attack Puppies?

Reviewed By Kim •  Updated: 06/16/22 •  3 min read
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Why Do Female Dogs Attack Puppies?

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There’s nothing cuter than watching your female dog take care of her puppies. She may be an adorable mommy dog and look quite sweet with her little fur babies. But there are also times when a female dog may attack her puppies.

This can be a horrifying thing to see. We understand it’s frightening. But a female dog will only attack her puppies for a reason.

Why Do Mother Dogs Attack Their Puppies?

Just like human mothers, canine mothers can also experience a lot of stress when they become mothers, especially for the first time. Some mother dogs may fail to care for their puppies, while others are careless and walk on their puppies and more.

What’s more, some mothers may not even realize what their puppies are and reject their little ones completely.

Reasons a Female Dog May Attack Her Puppies

There are many reasons a mother dog may attack her puppies, including:

Uterine infection: the mother dog may develop an infection in the uterus resulting from a retained placenta or due to a puppy that died before being born (in utero). A uterine infection makes the female dog feel horrible, and she may not want to care or be able to care for her puppies if she’s very ill.

Sick puppies: when a female dog has puppies, she pays close attention to them. Any puppies that show signs of illness or other problems are not allowed to survive. The mother dog may push the sick puppy away and keep it from feeding, or she may harm or even kill the puppy. The chances are that this puppy is not able to survive, and the mother senses this.

Accidental harm: some canine mothers are careless or lazy and don’t take proper care of their puppies. In that case, mother dogs may accidentally harm their puppies by walking or sitting on them.

Stress: new mother dogs require a place where they can take care of their puppies and themselves in quiet. If a female dog is stressed or feels threatened, she may harm the puppies as a way to keep them from the perceived threat.

Unstable or inexperienced: another problem is that some female dogs may be unstable or inexperienced mothers. The dogs may completely avoid their puppies, snap at them, or harm them in other ways. This can be a sign that a mother is too young to have puppies, a dog is too old, or she is not cut out to be a mother.

Lack of recognition: there are also female dogs that don’t recognize what their puppies are. This can include female dogs that have gone through a cesarean section. The problem is the dogs were not allowed to bond properly with the puppies and may try to harm the puppies rather than care for them.

If your female dog is harming her puppies, then it’s time to call the vet. Your fur baby could be sick or have another problem that can be treated by the vet. It’s also essential to keep her separated from the puppies until the problem has been determined.

In some cases, it may not be possible to reunite the mother and her puppies. In that case, you will need to hand-rear the puppies. And it’s probably a good idea to have your female dog spayed to keep her from breeding again.

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Kim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.