Why Do Female Dogs Bite Their Puppies?

By Kyoko •  Updated: 06/20/22 •  3 min read
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Why Do Female Dogs Bite Their Puppies?

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Do female dogs ever bite their puppies? Yes, they do! While it can be scary to see your female dog biting her puppies, it’s usually a natural behavior that’s quite innocent. It may look like she’s hurting them, but what you’re seeing is your female dog being a great mother to her littler of puppies.

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Why Do Female Dogs Bite Their Puppies?

There are several reasons mother dogs may bite their puppies, including the following reasons.

1. Mother Dog Bites Puppies During Weaning

Mother dogs usually start to wean their puppies when they reach four weeks of age, though some dogs may wean their puppies sooner than that. When the mother dogs are ready to wean the puppies, they keep the pups from nursing or from nursing as often.

When a puppy tries to nurse during this time, the mother may bite him or snap at him gently. This is common, especially when puppies are between five and seven weeks old.

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In this case, the mother dog is just trying to teach her puppies not to nurse and that it’s time to eat on their own. She’s trying to help them become more independent.

2. Muzzle Biting and Discipline

Mother dogs may also bite or nip at their puppies to discipline the little ones. When a puppy is too aggressive with his littermates, the mother might nip or bite his muzzle. She’s telling him to stop it right now!

A momma dog may also do this to a puppy who is trying to get more of her attention by pushing siblings away from her. Then the mother dog may bite the puppy’s muzzle.

3. Stop Biting

Mother dogs may also try to teach their puppies not to bite by training them to stop biting. When a puppy is too aggressive when nursing or playtime, the mother may show him it’s not the right way to behave. She does this by nipping or biting his muzzle or nose.

When puppies play with one another and bite too hard, the bite “victim” will quickly move away from the offending sibling! The bite offender learns that playtime is over if they start to play too rough and bite too hard.

4. Transporting Puppies

A mother dog may also look as if she’s biting her puppies if she has to move them from one place to another. Mother dogs do this by grabbing their puppies on the scruff (extra skin) of the neck. The mother may not feel the puppies are safe in their current location and so chooses to move them to a new, more secure spot.

So, there you have it! Yes, female dogs may sometimes bite their puppies. In most cases, the mother dog doesn’t seriously injure her puppies when biting them. However, if the puppies seem in distress when she’s biting them, it’s a good idea to separate the mother from the puppies and call the vet immediately. It’s possible the mother dog could be sick or have another issue.

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Kyoko

Kyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!
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