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My dog keeps taking care of her dead puppy. When should I dispose of it?

My @Quora answer to My dog keeps taking care of her dead puppy. When should I dispose of it?

Answer by Ava Teresa:

  • It's best to remove the puppy as soon as possible. Some will argue this must be done ASAP, but others emphasize the importance of not removing it too quickly.
  • If removed immediately, before she can grasp the fact that it is dead, taking it away may be very upsetting to her. Because mothers know (or have a rought idea of) how many puppies are in their litter, they tend to become extremely frantic when one is removed. (You will see–in both living and dead puppies–a mother "counts" her puppies by placing her nose to each, and when one goes missing she will search for it relentlessly).
  • That being said, when/if she is able to grasp its death, she will mourn it. So unfortunately, this is going to be tough on her no matter what. But she can and will recover, more quickly than you might expect.
  • So while this may be a bit disturbing for you, I recommend waiting a little while before taking the pup away might be the best option.
  • If the mother or other pups seem ill in anyway, however, take the dead pup away and bring them to the vet ASAP.
  • Do not let *too* much time pass, either. Parasites and other diseases that may have contributed to it's death can easily be passed to the mother and the other puppies. If too much of time has passed (over a day or two), to the point where the puppy begins to decay and she still insists on trying to care for it, then it is time to remove the puppy, despite the stress it may cause. She may follow it to the grave or search the house for it.

*Opinions vary on this matter, but I personally believe that in this case, its best to try to remove it when she is not able to see you doing it.

  • However, this is a severe and unlikely scenario…
  • The most likely scenario is that she will soon realize it is dead (temperature, rigidity, scent, etc.), and when she does she will be more comfortable with you separating it from her.
  • Also: call your vet to have the deceased puppy tested, to make sure it is not carrying a disease or anything else that could cause the rest of the litter harm. See web MD's section on Canine Herpes Virus for more info on diseases/illness & the importance of getting the litter tested.

This website is also very helpful/provides general information on caring for new litters, and what to do when a puppy dies: Care of the Pregnant Dog

Hope this helped!

My dog keeps taking care of her dead puppy. When should I dispose of it?

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