Maternal Behavior Problems in Female Dogs

Maternal Behavior Problems in Female Dogs

A female dog usually develops motherly instincts immediately after giving birth. But, maternal behavior problems in female dogs can occur. These are the cases where a female dog doesn't know what to with her litter. She cares less and may sometimes reject them! She may also over-care for her litter and will get aggressive every time somebody goes near her pups, she will even care for other pups and stuffed animals found at home (thinking they are hers)!

"Maternal behavior problems in female dogs can be A) the lack of maternal instincts (mothering) or; b) the excessive mothering to her pups and other dogs' pups."

Maternal behavior problems in female dogs can be A) the lack of maternal instincts (mothering) or; b) the excessive mothering to her pups and other dogs' pups.

These maternal behavior problems in dogs can be threatening if not addressed properly that's why it's very important that you know the signs & symptoms and the effective ways to properly manage it.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Each type of problematic maternal behavior in dogs has it's own signs and symptoms;

Lack of maternal behavior:

  • Does not clean her pups
  • Abandons her litter right after delivery
  • Does not nurse her pups
  • Attacks and sometimes kills her pups (when threatened by people or other animals)

Excessive maternal behavior:

  • Tries to take, guard and nurse puppies that are not hers and will prevent the real mother from taking care of her pups
  • Gets aggressive or attacks anyone that comes near her litter
  • Licks, cleans and guards stuffed animals which she thinks are hers

CAUSES OF MATERNAL BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS IN FEMALE DOGS

Stress. Pregnancy and delivery can be very stressful for dogs. Because of too much stress, she may not find the urge to feed pups and may even attack them. Sometimes the opposite happens. Provide your female dog and her pups a comfortable place away from noises and other people & pets at home.

A sick mother dog. If the mother dog isn't feeling well, she will not have the energy to nurse her litter and take care of them. Until your dog feels better, you will have to act as a substitute parent and will have to nurse and clean the pups.

Pup's condition. A dog's natural instinct will focus on taking care of the healthy ones and will reject or abandon pups who are weak or have abnormalities.

First litter. If this is your dog's first litter, she may be scared and won't know what to do. She will either ignore her pups or be overprotective of them.

Birth via CS. If your dog gave birth via cesarean section, she will develop mixed feelings for her litter. This is because mother dog produces oxytocin, which increases the hormones for her to take care and recognize her puppies.

Caring for the pups

Proper Feeding. In case mama dog is out of the picture, feeding can be critical. You just don’t give the pups any milk (like cow’s milk!) because this can cause diarrhea. It is best that you consult your vet first on what to give the puppies and on how to properly feed them. Newborn pups must be fed every 2 hours or you’ll know when they’re hungry because they will begin to cry and move around.

Healthy Environment. With constant supervision, the puppies should have an area to themselves, that is comfortable enough for them (and that allows them to freely crawl around).

Comfort Dry. Your pups must be kept warm and dry at all times. Newborn pups cannot generate their own heat and still rely on their mama dog or the other pups for heat.

Maternal behavior problems in female dogs can be one of the trying times but keeping an eye on your female dog & her pups and being ready enough to act as substitute parent, whatever happens, is more than enough to make it through.

Look for ways to keep their den warm. You can use heating pads in the area. But make sure it is strategically placed to avoid frying out the pups! You can also line their den with newspapers, towels or washable pee pads to act as whelping pads!

Maternal behavior problems in female dogs can be one of the trying times but keeping an eye on your female dog & her pups and being ready enough to act as substitute parent, whatever happens, is more than enough to make it through.

"With constant supervision, the puppies should have an area to themselves, that is comfortable enough for them (and that allows them to freely crawl around)."

The Author:

Micka V.

Micka Virtudazo is a full-time content creator at Pet Parents who lives with thirteen adorable American Bullies and a Shih Tzu-Maltese mix named Gretel. She especially enjoys writing how-to articles as she feels through this she can connect to other pet parents on a more personal level.

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