Think a dog's maternal instinct will always kick in once the puppies are born? Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. The sad truth is that -- although rare -- some female dogs reject their offspring and, if you don't step in to care for them, the little pups won't survive. This means bottle-feeding and cleaning the puppies as well as making sure they get enough attention. That's why it's important to know the signs of rejection so you can fill that maternal role as quickly as possible.
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Closeness Means Caring
Observe Mom during the first couple of days after birth. Mothers will rarely leave the newborns' side, except to go to the bathroom or eat. If you catch Mom sleeping or hanging out away from the puppies, that's a bad sign.
Licking = Love
Look at the amount of licking going on. Moms lick young puppies constantly -- to clean them, to encourage urination and defecation and sometimes simply to mark them as hers. If the puppies are lying around still covered in amniotic fluid or if you don't see Mom constantly licking their butts to get them to pee, it might be a sign that she's not interested in them.
Listen for Loud Crying
Listen to the amount of crying going on. Newborn puppies are quiet -- they either eat or sleep most of the day, usually buried against Mom's tummy. Puppies will feed every two hours, but not necessarily all at the same time, so as a result, there's almost always one puppy feeding at some point. If Mom is refusing milk or just leaving the puppies alone, they'll cry -- as loudly as they can.
By Tammy Dray
About the Author
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.