Why Do Female Dogs Move Their Puppies?

Reviewed By Kyoko •  Updated: 10/04/22 •  3 min read
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Why Do Female Dogs Move Their Puppies?

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Mother dogs are intensely focused on caring for their puppies and do everything possible to ensure their survival. However, one of the most unsettling is a mother dog moving her puppies from one place to another.

Do you have a female dog who moves her puppies often? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand this can be concerning. After all, you want the puppies to be OK!

We’ve put together some information about why a mother dog moves her puppies and if you should be worried. Let’s get started!

Nesting & Creating a Den

The first thing to understand is that mother dogs have deep instincts to nurture and protect their puppies. These instincts have been passed down from our canine companions’ wild ancestors. But in addition to their instincts, female dogs also learn from their own mothers and how they were cared for.

Mother dogs usually go through a nesting period just before having their puppies. Nesting is the process of creating a safe, secure place to have her babies. Your dog may dig in the carpet, dig a hole in the backyard, or even dig in her bedding before having her puppies. She’s trying to create a nest or den where her puppies will be safe once they’re born. She looks for a quiet, private place for her and the puppies.

Why Do Mother Dogs Move Their Puppies?

Many female dogs move their puppies because of some problem in the area near her den or nest. The mother may fear that her puppies are not safe in that area and will move them to a new location.

If the new location has a problem, the female dog will move her puppies again. Remember, her entire focus is on caring for her puppies and keeping them safe.

A mother dog will move her puppies as often as she feels necessary to keep them safe.

Reasons for Moving the Puppies

Mother dogs may move their puppies if the room or space is too noisy and there are too many people around. This area may make her feel stressed when she wants a quiet, snug place for her den.

She may also become concerned if the puppies are being handled too much. As a result, she may find a new location for her puppies. The mother dog may choose a place you don’t often frequent, such as under the bed or in the corner of a closet, and other similar places.

The thing to understand is that your female dog feels her puppies are somehow in danger. This is why she’s moving them.

Summing It Up

So, if your female dog has a litter of puppies, it’s essential she’s in a quiet place where there’s not much activity or noise. She and the puppies need to be left alone, aside from very occasional checks to ensure everyone’s doing OK.

Respecting your dog’s right to motherhood and her concern for the puppies may keep her from moving them around from place to place.

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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!