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How do I tell if dam is starting to reject one of her pups?

My French bulldog gave birth naturally to 6 healthy puppies 2 days ago (Tuesday 19th September). She has been an amazing mommy, feeding and cleaning them all until today when I noticed her dragging the only female pup by her back legs away from the rest of the puppies. We have been keeping a closer eye on them and this has happened 2 or 3 times now although she still appears to be letting her feed and still cleaning her. My partner also found mom lay in the opposite corner to the rest of the pups with the bitch underneath her. If he hadn't have found her when he did she would have suffocated. Is this deliberate behaviour and starting to reject her? Any help/advice appreciated! Sorry for the essay!

Best Answer

  • edited October 2017 Answer ✓
    This issue might have different reasons, some of them may be : 
    • Puppy Illness and other problems with puppy
    • Maternal Instinct
    • Health conditions of the Mom (such as Metritis)
    • Culling
    • Poor Milk Production
    • Extreme Stress

    Most of the times this behaviour has to do with its nature, and the fact that in the wild, a mother (or parents) will pool all their resources to the offspring that they feel will have the best chance of survival.

    So if most female dogs have a natural mothering instinct, why would they reject a puppy? You can blame Mother Nature for this. In the wild, only the strong survive. Although dogs have been domesticated for a long time, that knowledge remains alive within them. So if a mama dog is rejecting just one puppy out of a litter, chances are there's something wrong with that puppy — maybe a deformity or a serious illness that makes it unlikely he'll survive into adulthood.

    Since Mom has other puppies to care for, she will reject the runt who has little chance of survival so she can concentrate on taking care of the rest. When this happens, only human intervention—including bottle-feeding and a visit to the vet—can save the puppy.
    You said there seemed to be nothing wrong with the dog - it could just be that he is smaller than the rest, or the runt of the litter.

    It seems that it may be difficult to get the mother to re-accept the puppy, if this is at all possible - in her mind she does not want to 'waste' her energy on a puppy that she does not think will survive - therefore, as stated above, it is best to look after this yourself, and get information from your veterinarian on how to bottle-feed the puppy and make sure it gets the nutrients it needs to develop properly.

    My Recommendation:
    As I mentioned the best thing would be consulting this condition with an experienced vet.

    Wish you the best of luck.

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