When one of your dogs delivers puppies, it is not uncommon for one of the babies in the liter to die. There are cases when there are stillborn pups in the liter. Sometimes, the runt of the liter is too weak to survive shortly after birth. That is why you should not be shocked when you see one of the puppies in the liter dead.
The problem here is that the way you manage and handle a puppy’s death is different from how a mother dog would. In your case, you already managed your expectations and are aware of the risks. But there is no way for you to make the mother dog understand the situation and the risks involved. That is why you may need to follow our tips on how to manage the death of your puppy/puppies.
Give the mother some time to spend with her dead puppy/puppies.
The way we grieve with the death of a puppy is far different from how a mother dog would. We immediately know that a stillborn puppy is dead. And, in the case of the runt who died shortly after birth, we know that we cannot do anything about it. We are more prepared and ready to accept a puppy’s death.
But a mother dog does not manage the situation in the same way that we do. It is not uncommon for dogs to try to revive their dead or stillborn puppies. This is true even though there is no hope of reviving them. In that case, you need to leave the puppy with her for a while for her to understand that it is dead.
Allow the mother to check dead the puppy herself.
For you to make the mother dog understand that the puppy is dead, it is prudent to make sure that she gets to examine it. You can do so by leaving the dead puppy by her side for a few minutes. If your dog is not overly aggressive, you can also try to grab the body and let her smell it. The moment the mother smells her dead puppy, she will begin to understand the situation.
However, you should take note that you should not leave the puppy with the mother for long periods. That is because it will immediately start to decompose the moment it died. A decomposing body will be a hotbed for diseases that can infect the other puppies. As such, allow the mother to examine and smell the body herself for her to understand what happened.
Remove the puppy shortly after.
As mentioned, you do not want to keep the puppy’s rotting body near the mother for long. It will begin to rot and may become a hotbed for diseases. If the other puppies get too close to its rotting body, their weak immune systems might get compromised. As such, make sure that you remove the dead puppy’s body when the mother already realized that it is dead.
Another reason why you do not keep the puppy’s body along with the mother is cannibalism. When the mother tries to frantically lick her puppy to revive it, she may start biting. As soon as biting happens, the mother’s instincts will kick in, and it may start to eat the dead puppy. You do not want this happening for good reasons. After all, dogs eating dead and decomposing bodies can open themselves up to diseases. That is why you have to remove the body one the mother is already aware of her puppy’s death.
However, you want to make sure that you keep the body long enough for the mother to know what happened. Again, allow the mother dog to examine and smell the body for it to know that it is dead. The reason why you want to do this is that the mother has an idea of how many puppies she gave birth to. If you suddenly remove the dead puppy’s body soon after finding out of its death, problems will arise. The mother will begin to frantically search for the puppy if it does not know that it is already dead. At times, it may even cause the mother to panic. This can lead to agitation and aggression on the part of your dog. And if you are not too careful, she will bite you.
When to remove puppy?
When you are removing the puppy’s body even after a significant amount of time, and the mother still has not realized that it is dead, do so carefully. Wait until the mother is too busy caring for the other puppies. Carefully pick the body up without making any sudden movements to get the mother dog’s attention.
In certain cases, the mother may do the disposal herself, especially. This is common if you keep your dogs in an area with soft bedding, such as soil. The mother will begin to dig to try to make a grave for her pup. If you see this happening, allow her to do so. But you still have to dispose of the body later on.
Take the body to the vet.
When you are concerned about the well-being of the liter, you may want to take the dead puppy’s body to a vet. Have the body examined so that the vet can tell the cause of death. It may be because of a disease or a certain type of illness that could have passed itself to the other puppies. If that is the case, it is prudent for you to also have your other dogs checked.
Take the mother and the rest of the liter to the vet.
If you want to be sure about your dogs’ health after the death of a puppy, have them checked as well. This would be a prudent move on your part if an easily transmittable disease caused the pup’s death. In some cases, it may be because of a congenital disease that was passed from the mother.
Dispose of the deceased puppy’s body.
After taking all of the precautionary steps following the death of the puppy, dispose of the body. By now, it should already be starting to show signs of rot. Make sure that you dispose of it properly to prevent it from spreading harmful bacteria and diseases. You can have your vet dispose of it yourself, or you can bury the body deep underground. Just make sure that you bury it somewhere far fro the rest of the pack.