4 Reasons Why Do Dog Kill Their Puppies?    

Dogs are often considered to be humans’ closest friends. However, sometimes our furry pals do things that confuse us, like harming their own puppies.

While this is not a pleasant topic, it does happen from time to time.

But why do dogs act this way toward their own puppies?

Do they intend to harm them, or is there a deeper reason for their actions?

When a dog kills a puppy, it’s not always due to being mean or aggressive. In many instances, there might be a valid explanation for their behavior.

I will explore the reasons why dogs sometimes harm or even kill their own puppies, and I’ll look into the different factors that might contribute to this sad behavior.

Why Do Dogs Harm or Kill Their Own Puppies?

Not all puppies that mothers harm end up being killed.

Sometimes, the mother dog might just be attempting to relocate her puppies, and accidentally harm them while doing so.

Additionally, if a dog is growling at her puppies, she could be signaling them to move away or give her some space.

There are many different reasons why dogs might harm or kill their puppies, and some of these reasons are explained below.

Sickness or Disease

One main reason why dogs harm or kill their puppies is when they’re unwell or have a disease.

If a mother dog has an infection, she might unintentionally harm her puppies to keep them safe from the sickness.

Also, if a puppy is born with a defect or illness, the mother dog might harm it to prevent its suffering.

Lack of Maternal Instinct

Sometimes, dogs don’t have the natural feeling to take care of their puppies.

This can happen because they were neglected or mistreated before, didn’t interact much with others, or it’s in their genes.

When dogs lack the right motherly feelings, they might accidentally harm their puppies or not know how to look after them properly.

Feeling Scared or Aggressive

Sometimes, dogs might harm or even kill their puppies because they’re scared or aggressive.

This can happen when a mother dog feels frightened by her puppies and reacts with aggression, which can be seen in cases of dog bites.

Also, if a dog feels scared or overwhelmed by her puppies, she might harm them as a way to defend herself.

Fighting Over Limited Resources

Dogs might harm their puppies when they’re trying to get the things they need.

If a mother dog doesn’t think there’s enough food or water for her puppies, she might hurt them to stop them from needing those things.

Also, if there are many dogs in one place, they might fight for what they need, and this could result in some puppies getting hurt or even dying.

What Are the Signs of Stress in Dogs That Could Lead to Killing Their Puppies?

Stress can strongly influence a dog’s aggression toward its own puppies, leading to heartbreaking outcomes.

Recognizing stress signs in dogs is crucial to prevent this behavior.

Common stress indicators in dogs include excessive panting, pacing, or being restless.

Furthermore, dogs might become more argumentative or easily annoyed, growling or barking more often.

Loss of appetite, weight loss, and digestive problems can also signal stress in dogs. They might also show anxiety-related actions like hiding or trembling.

If a dog shows these behaviors, it’s important to identify and address the source of their stress.

Taking action early can prevent the tragic consequences of maternal aggression toward puppies.

Reasons Why Male Dogs Might Harm Puppies

Male dogs can also harm puppies because of competition for resources, not being well accustomed to social interactions, and their natural behaviors.

In certain situations, male dogs might harm puppies while they’re competing for food or water.

If a male dog hasn’t learned how to be around others properly, he might hurt puppies out of fear or aggression.

However, some male dogs might harm puppies to mate with the mother dog.

Usually, male dogs are more likely to harm puppies than female dogs because they don’t have strong motherly instincts.

Still, some male dogs can be very caring and protective of their young ones.

So, if you’re wondering why dogs harm their puppies, there can be different reasons behind it.

Ways to Stop Your Dog from Harming Its Puppies

If you’re worried about your dog hurting its puppies, there are steps you can take to prevent it.

Firstly, make sure your dog’s vaccinations are current.

Also, help your dog get used to being around others from a young age, and reward good behavior with positivity.

If you have more than one dog at home, ensure they get along and have enough food and water to share.

If you notice your dog acting fearful or aggressive, it’s wise to consult a vet or an expert in animal behavior.

When introducing a new puppy, do it gradually and carefully. Watch over their interactions until you’re sure they’re comfortable with each other.

How Can We Assist Dogs That Have Killed Their Puppies?

Dealing with situations where a dog has killed her puppies can be challenging for both the dog’s owner and the animal itself.

It’s important to know that, in many cases, the dog’s actions stem from underlying medical or emotional issues that require proper care and treatment.

Sometimes, it’s possible to address the root cause of the dog’s aggression and prevent harm to future litters.

It’s also crucial to offer support and care to the dog after the loss of her puppies.

This might involve creating a comfortable environment, regular exercise, and positive interactions to rebuild trust and positive feelings towards humans and other animals.

If the dog’s aggression can’t be safely managed or treated, considering other options like finding a new home or humane euthanasia might be necessary.

However, with the right care and guidance, it’s possible to help the dog recover and ensure the safety of her future offspring.


So, why do dogs hurt their puppies sometimes? There are several reasons, like fighting over things they need, not getting used to being around others, and their natural actions.

If you’re worried about your dog harming its puppies, you can take action to stop it.

In my opinion, help your dog become accustomed to being around others while it’s young, and ensure it has a plenty supply of food and water.

Also, if you have more than one dog at home, introduce the new puppy slowly and carefully to prevent any possible fighting.

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Luke Grayson
By Luke Grayson

I'm Luke Grayson co founder of The Dogs Wiki and dog lover person. Plays the role of content writing and keyword selection with proper research.

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