Why do Dogs Eat their Newborn Puppies? 9 Reasons

Dogs are known to be the most loyal animals to their owners. They are known for their friendly and playful demeanor. Some canine behaviors look very irritating and cruel such as cannibalism when dogs start eating their newborn puppies.

There are many theories about cannibalism in dogs, but no one knows the actual cause. Dogs Escort Team researched and investigated the root causes of this behavior.

We contacted many canine experts, pet behaviorists, and breeders to find the root cause of dogs eating their babies.

After comprehensive research, we concluded some of the main reasons that are briefly described below in this article.

Keep reading to learn about canine cannibalism and how to stop your pet and prevent newborn puppies?

Why do dogs eat their newborn puppies?

Why do dogs eat their newborn puppies

As any pet owner knows, dogs are very protective of their young. They will often growl or snap at anyone near their puppies and go to great lengths to keep them safe. 

However, there are certain occasions when a dog eats their babies. Below are the nine known reasons for cannibalism in dogs

1. Stress and Anxiety

There are many reasons of stress and anxiety in canines. Whatever the cause, stress during the birth time and anxiety can compel your canine to adopt very irritating and cruel behaviors, including cannibalism.

If a pet gives birth in a noisy place where people and other animals easily approach can make a dog Anxious. In such scenarios, a dog may hurt its newborn and even eat them.

When your canine is pregnant, it’s important to prevent any type of stress. This is especially true when it’s close to the time of birth. Provide a quiet and calm environment for your pet.

Providing a calm environment will help them to feel relaxed and comfortable. Giving birth is a stressful time for any animal, so it’s important to do everything you can to make the experience as smooth as possible.

If you suspect that your dog is feeling stressed or anxious, take them to the vet for an examination. There may be underlying medical causes that need to be treated.

With the right care, you can help your dog have a happy and healthy pregnancy.

2. Inexperienced Mom

Giving birth is a miraculous event, no matter what species you are. For dogs, it’s often their first time giving birth, so they can be prone to making mistakes.

One of those mistakes is trying to eat the placenta or umbilical cord. This can lead to them accidentally swallowing their newborn puppy. It’s not that they’re trying to hurt their baby; they just don’t know any better.

During Labor and delivery, it is important to keep a close eye on your dog. It is suggested to separate the puppies until your canine is stable from the Labor process.

Make sure that the area where your dog is giving birth is clean and free of debris. Labor and delivery can be stressful for your dog, so be prepared for anything.

Have a plan in place in case of complications, and be sure to consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns.

3. Protect Healthy Puppies From the Sick Ones

Dogs are amazing creatures with a powerful sense of smell. Some experts believe that a mother dog can detect any fatal illness in her puppies, and she has no knowledge that canine illnesses are treatable.

To protect the healthy puppies, she may eat the sick ones. While this may seem like a brutal act, it is actually an act of love and protection for the healthy little canines.

By eating the sick puppies, the mother dog is ensuring that the healthy puppies have a chance to survive and thrive. In addition, by consuming the sick puppies, she is also preventing the spread of disease. 

As any animal lover knows, puppies are especially vulnerable to illness. Their immune systems are not fully developed, and they often lack the natural ability to fight off infection.

For this reason, it is essential to be extra vigilant when caring for a litter of new burn puppies. If any puppies seem weaker or sicker than the others, it is essential to separate them from the rest of the litter and take them to the vet for treatment.

Also, keeping a close eye on puppies who are not gaining weight or seem lethargic is essential. 

4. Difficulty in Recognizing

Hormonal issues can sometimes prevent a parent dog from recognizing its puppies. During birth, certain hormones are released from the body to help a parent dog bond with its offspring.

If these hormones are lacking, it can be difficult for canines to recognize their puppies, and they may hurt or even eat them, thinking they are invaders.

This situation usually occurs when a dog gives birth via Cesarean section.

5. Mastitis

Breastfeeding is essential for newborn puppies, providing them with the nutrients and antibodies they need to grow strong and healthy.

However, sometimes a nursing mother dog can develop mastitis, an inflammation of the mammary glands. Mastitis is a painful health condition.

When puppies feed milk from their mother, it causes severe pain. In severe cases, a pet with mastitis may even eat her puppies out of depression.

Mastitis is a serious condition. It can be treated with antibiotics. If you suspect that your dog has Mastitis, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

With proper treatment, most dogs make a full recovery and are able to continue nursing their puppies.

6. Cannibalism For Survival

A mother’s love for her offspring is one of the most powerful forces in nature. But when faced with the prospect of starvation, even the strongest maternal instinct can be overridden by the survival instinct.

In some cases, this can lead to cannibalism. When a mother dog cannot find enough food to feed her litter, she may start eating her puppies.

This may seem like a heartless act, but it’s an attempt to ensure that at least some of her offspring survive. By eating some of its newborns, the mother is giving the rest a better chance at survival.

While it’s certainly not an ideal solution, it’s often the only option available to starving animals.

One of the most important things to remember when caring for a litter of puppies is to ensure that their mother has enough food.

Pets who are nursing need extra calories to support the production of milk, and if they don’t receive enough food, they may not be able to produce enough milk to nourish their puppies properly.

Providing the right kind of food to growing puppies is also essential. Just like human babies, puppies need a nutrient-rich diet to grow and develop properly.

If they don’t receive enough of the proper nutrients, they may suffer from malnutrition, leading to serious health problems. You can ensure the newborns’ safety by providing adequate food for both the mother dog and her puppies. 

7. Neurological Problems

Canine neurological problems can cause a wide range of issues, from mild to severe. One of the most serious potential problems is affected mental health.

Neurological problems can cause dogs to become unable to identify their puppies. Due to this health issue, they can hurt their offspring badly.

In some cases, the mother may even eat her puppies. While this behavior is undoubtedly distressing for owners, it is essential to remember that the dog is not acting out of malice or aggression but rather due to the neurological disorder affecting its ability to think and behave normally.

If your dog has neurological problems, it is essential to work with a veterinarian to develop a treatment plan that will help minimize the potentially harmful effects on your dog’s mental health.

8. Ravenous Appetite

A dog’s ravenous appetite can create some strange and irritating behaviors. For example, dogs may eat its own or puppy poop or chew on rocks or sticks. Sometimes, a dog may even eat its puppies if it is not adequately fed.

Ravenous Appetite in dogs

A dog suffer from the ravenous appetite needs to consume more food to get the same nutritional value. This can create problems for owners who do not provide enough food or do not feed their dogs regularly.

If you have a dog with a ravenous appetite, it is essential to make sure that it is adequately fed and has access to plenty of fresh water. Otherwise, you may find yourself dealing with some very unwanted behaviors.

9. Inherited Trait

Some Staffordshire Bull Terriers are notorious for eating their puppies. This is considered an inherited trait. Some other dog breeds known for this behavior include the Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, and Great Dane.

You can save the pups if they are removed from the mother dog immediately after birth and placed in a warm, safe environment.

However, if the puppies are not removed from the mother dog in time, they may be injured or killed. As a result, owners of these breeds need to be aware of this potential behavior and take precautions to prevent it.

How do I stop my dog from eating her puppies?

1. Do not leave the mother and puppies unsupervised for long periods. If you must leave, confine the mother dog to a small area with her puppies.

2. Feed the mother dog a high-quality diet to help her produce nutritious milk for her puppies.

3. If possible, feed the puppies a small amount of their mother’s milk several times a day.

4. Keep the area where the mother and puppies are located clean and free of debris.

5. Avoid handling the puppies too much, as this can stress the mother dog and cause her to become defensive.

6. If you notice the mother dog becoming agitated or aggressive, consult a veterinarian or professional dog trainer for assistance.

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Is it normal for dogs to eat their puppies?

Hurting self babies are painful for both humans and pets. Eating puppies are not considered normal for dogs. However, some reasons like malnutrition, instinct or even illness can lead a mother dog to eat her puppies.

As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to prevent our pets and their newborns from any danger. Therefore, if you notice your dog is showing any abnormal behavior, then please take her to the vet.

Do dogs eat their puppies if you touch them?

Some people believe that a mother dog will eat its babies when your touch them. There is no relation between touching puppies and these behaviors.

However, if you are approaching continuously approaching the newborn puppies, it will make the mother dogs anxious, and also it will affect the hormonal balance of the puppy.

In these circumstances, a mother canine can hurt her newborns. We recommend do not touch or separate the puppies continuously and letting them be with their mom if there is a peaceful environment between the mother and the puppies.

Should I remove the dead puppy from its mother?

Yes, you should remove the dead puppy from the mother dog. This is because the mother dog may become too attached to the puppy and will not allow you to remove it after some time. Additionally, the mother dog may start to eat the puppy if it is left with her.

Also, there is a risk of bacterial contamination from the dead puppy.

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