Do Dogs Eat Their Puppies?

Although it’s uncommon, female dogs do occasionally eat their puppies. In most cases, the mom may be ill.

This illness may prevent her from properly caring for the pups. Female dogs may eat their offspring for a variety of reasons, including hunger, but it’s certainly not a part of their diet

Because you’re raising the mother and puppies in your home, you can avoid this situation by maintaining a tight eye on them and using a separator when you’re not there to supervise them. 

Because the mother rarely eats her offspring for the sake of eating them, let’s look at the real reasons why dogs eat their puppies and how you can prevent it from happening.

Do Dogs Eat Their Puppies? – 5 Reasons

1: Sick Puppies

Dog mothers are occasionally unlucky enough to give birth to a sick puppy or even an entire litter, which results in the mother eating the puppy she has given birth to. 

This is certainly not what you’d expect to see in nature, but it is a part of it. 

Despite this, removing sick puppies from the litter and bringing them to the veterinarian will prevent this from occurring if you keep an eye on the puppies until they are deemed safe.

Sick puppies may make the mother feel as if the pup will slow her “pack” down and put the entire family at risk. 

2: Sick Mama

When mothers become ill, it is possible that they will feel compelled to eat their litter because they believe they will be unable to care for them otherwise. 

Some believe that dogs have an exceptional ability to predict whether or not they will pass away before humans do. 

Therefore, when a dog mother feels she is unable to provide for and protect her litter, she will eat the puppies that she has produced as a means of coping.

Infected nips will not only make it very difficult for her to feed the little ones, but it will also make it challenging to stay sane with the pain she may be experiencing. 

3: Infected Nips

Dogs breastfeed their newborns, which is similar to how we as humans feed our offspring. 

If the dog’s breast becomes infected, this can result in severe pain and the dog’s ability (or inability) to produce milk

This can result in the pups going hungry, making the situation even worse for the mother and her puppies. To counteract this, the mother may believe it is preferable to eat her offspring. 

Although this may seem like it appears to be a terrible option, the mother is convinced that it is the better choice.

4: Still Born

A puppy can be born after it has already passed away. It’s possible that it died during the birthing process as well. 

When this occurs, a dog mother may eat it as a matter of course. 

This seems to be something out of a horror flick, but it is nothing more than nature trying to figure things out on its own. 

It is as simple as being present during the birth and for a short period of time afterward to avoid this.

5: Cannibalism 

It is possible for a puppy to be born after its mother has already passed away. It’s possible that it died during the birthing process as well. 

When this occurs, a dog mother may eat it as a matter of preventing it from slowing down its pack. 

This certainly appears to be something out of a horror film, but it is nothing more than nature trying to figure things out on its own. 

It is as simple as being present during the birth and for a short period of time afterward to avoid this.

How You Can Help

1: Be Their During Birth

It is critical to have someone present during the puppy’s birth because this is the time when the mother is most likely to attempt anything of this nature, so having someone present is critical. 

If you are nearby during the birth of the litter, you will be able to prevent her from eating her offspring. 

You can maintain an eye out for weak puppies and determine whether or not the mother is having difficulty feeding her puppies by observing their behavior.

Being there with the mom during the birthing process will also provide her with some anxiety relief. 

Providing her with blankets, cold water, and a calming talk should be enough to help her get through the process easily. 

2: Utilize a Separator

A separator, similar to a child gate, can be useful if the mother is hesitant or afraid of her puppies at the beginning of their relationship. 

This can be especially useful for situations in which you need to be away from home for a short period of time. 

Mom’s puppies will have no chance of being eaten while you are away, thanks to this method. 

Just make sure you aren’t gone for too long so that the puppies don’t lose access to their mother’s milk.

3: Find a Foster

Staying at home to ensure that your dog does not eat its offspring can be a difficult task for those who work full-time jobs. 

Locate a foster where someone can come in and keep an eye on the puppies in order to combat this problem. 

Depending on the circumstances, this may be a professional, or it could simply be a family member or friend who is assisting you. 

Consider purchasing a baby cam if this is not an option for you so that you can focus on them at all times.

Takeaway

Dogs eating their puppies is a rare occurrence, but it does happen from time to time. 

In the event that your dog does not have any aggression issues and is otherwise healthy, this should not occur. 

If you think there is a strong probability, you should consider one of the three options listed above. 

The most critical period is immediately following the birth of the pups, as this is when she is most likely to devour the young.



Written by Brian Rucker

Brian Rucker has been a dog lover since childhood. He has had his Lab Mix with Hound for over 10+ years now! They enjoy playing outdoors together. Brian loves sharing his knowledge about all things dog on this website. Read more of Brian's articles.