Puppy Separation Anxiety From Litter

Puppy Separation Anxiety From Litter

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
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Separation anxiety may result from separating puppies too soon from their litter, and this may lead to some problems. The mother will also be affected, not just the newborn pups. Therefore, it is essential that you know when is the right time.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Puppy Separation Anxiety From Litter“.

As a dog owner who just gave birth to puppies you are likely excited to give one or two of them as gifts to friends or relatives who love animals as much as you do. It is likely you want to get the return on your investment as fast as possible if you are planning to make money by breeding and selling puppies. But when should you do this?

Puppy Separation Anxiety From Litter

Separation anxiety may result from separating puppies too soon from their litter and this may lead to some problems. The mother will also be affected not just the newborn pups. Therefore it is essential that you know when is the right time. Additionally you should learn how to prepare the little dogs for being separated from their moms and siblings. Keep reading for more information about puppy separation anxiety.

What are the needs of newborn pups?

A puppy is just like a human baby. They are too dependent on their mothers when they are newly born. Its for this reason that you can not separate babies from their mothers right after they’re born. Moreover puppies require their mothers milk for about 6 to 8 weeks in order to survive.

In the first few weeks of a puppys life it is crucial that he receives attention physical contact and good nutrition in order to grow healthy. Their needs include a clean and safe environment warmth from their mother and littermates nursing and nutrition as well as socialization.

Socialization takes place in their litter. This is where they start mingling and playing with their mother brothers and sisters. As well as learning some good qualities. When playing with other puppies becomes too much they will become aware that it is hurting them.

It is best to allow human contact during this time in order to prepare them for separation in the future. The puppies will no longer be shocked once they are given to their new families. Obviously this depends on when you plan to do it.

When is the right time to separate puppies from the litter?

According to what we said earlier puppies must be nursed for about 8 weeks or 2 months. At this point you can separate them from the litter.

Although some people believe it should happen by 12 weeks because the puppy will be more independent more accustomed to eating solid foods and more accustomed to grooming itself I think its more common to let the puppies go at 8 weeks.

Another important but obvious point is that every puppy is an individual. They develop and mature at their own pace.

I have had litters in which individuals (both female and male) have been mature and ready to go at 7 weeks- they are super confident full of energy and are starting to throw their weight around. A new challenge awaits them in their new home.

However we kept them for an extra week!

As an owner you can tell when puppies are ready to leave their mother when they are fully developed and have gained the necessary self-confidence.

Our goal here has been to ensure that their new owners know what their puppys needs are and what they need to do in order to meet those needs.

It is crucial to place your puppy in a loving home with owners who will adore him/her in order to minimize separation anxiety.

How to find the perfect owners to minimize anxiety

A very thorough job interview is similar to finding the perfect owners for any new puppy and finding them takes hours and hours of work.

In contrast finding our puppies a truly heavenly environment to thrive in will ease any anxiety they may feel when they leave us and will enable them to thrive well into adulthood.

Three stages are involved as well as a lifetime warranty.


Our new litters have never been advertised on social media but instead we use a national website for pedigree dogs.

Our puppies are always in high demand. As a result we can be “choosy” and say “no” to some people who want our puppies.

Phone calls

Sending a detailed email that expresses interest is not enough.

We would like to speak with any potential new owners and ask many questions.

When you talk to people you can learn a lot about them.

Face to face meeting

Those who have passed the phone interview will be asked to spend time with us and the puppies.

This allows us to meet them in person and see how they interact with the puppies.

We typically ask people to visit us a couple of times which is also a good indicator of their commitment level.

Life long warranty

We require our new puppy owners to sign a detailed contract before they take ownership of their puppy.

We ask that they let us know if their circumstances change and they are no longer able to take care of their puppy so we can take it back if necessary.

There have been two puppies returned to us from our three litters so this isnot something we take lightly.

The reasons for getting rid of them sooner

Although it is “wrong” to get rid of puppies before they are eight weeks old it is understandable in some ways.

These are the two main ones I would like to explore.

It is exhausting to raise a litter of puppies. Your days and nights will be spent feeding them playing with them and cleaning up after them.

By the time they are eight weeks old you have nothing left in the tank and you are walking around like a zombie.

There is something very appealing about a gentler calmer way of life.

In addition the sooner the puppies leave you the sooner you get paid and get a return on your investment.

It can be expensive to have a litter of puppies and for some people it is urgent to get some of the money back.

All our puppies have left us by eight weeks. We would never let them go earlier but I can understand the pressures that other “parents” may experience.

Short term separation anxiety

It is perfectly normal for any puppy to be anxious when they leave their litter and go to their forever home.

The creature has left the only home it has ever known and is now in an unfamiliar environment.

You should plan ahead for this.

You will need to spend a lot of time with your puppy when you get it.

Taking a week off work to help the puppy adjust is a good idea if no one is home all day.

Anxious behavior includes being excessively “clingy” and “needy”- they are looking for lots of warmth love and reassurance from their new owners to replace the security they have just lost.

Even briefly being on their own will be very hard for them.

They should be prepared for many worrying behaviors but three of the most troubling are:

  1. There is barking and howling
  2. along with frantic chewing and biting
  3. and possibly urinating and defecating

It will take weeks not hours to get to know your puppy and settle them in. You will need a lot of patience in this process.

Your puppy and you are setting yourself up for failure if you think that a few quick tweaks to your life will fix everything.

Progress needs to be measured in days and weeks not in hours otherwise you will become frustrated and annoyed.

Due to the fact that your new puppy will hate to be separated from you and will express this in all sorts of unpleasant ways we are left with a very difficult question.

How should you spend your night?

Puppy separation anxiety at night

As you might imagine there are a lot of ideas on how to deal with your new puppy before going to bed.

The answer to this question is neither right nor wrong.

The “experts” recommend locking the puppy in a crate downstairs at night and then enduring a few very disturbed nights of sleep as the puppy howls in distress for hours on end.

There are people who suggest you take the puppy to bed with you- which is great because the puppy would not howl but what about the second and third nights?

In addition you should have your puppy sleep in a dogs bed in your bedroom at first and then gradually move the bed away from you until in a few weeks the dog is sleeping peacefully downstairs.

The most important thing is to do what feels right for you and to recognize that none of the solutions will be trouble-free- they will all require hard work and some sleepless nights.

Its up to you if you decide to share your bed with your dog but your dog will expect to sleep with you constantly so your sleep will be disrupted and most dogs will make your bed smelly and hairy.

It is very important to set up a routine for evenings and nights and to stick to it regardless of what happens.

By following a simple routine your puppy will be less anxious because they will understand what is happening.

You’ll want to go out into the garden the last thing before bed and you might also have to take a quick trip out into the garden during the night (since young puppies can not go an entire night without weeing or pooping).

In addition there might be dinner late in the afternoon or early in the evening.

Whatever you do do not give up.

What happens when puppies are separated from the litter too soon?

It is not only the puppies that might suffer from separation anxiety if you take them away from the litter too soon. Their mother might be affected as well. During pregnancy her mammary glands can become congested and inflamed which can lead to a lot of pain as well as other issues.

There may be several health problems for the pups. If you separate them from the litter too soon they may have behavioral issues later on.

Other things that may happen include


Having not spent enough time with their mother the puppies may have been traumatized. When they are small they will feel nervous about their new environment and this could significantly affect their behavior around humans and other dogs when they grow up.

Decreased learning ability

During the time spent in the litter puppies learn a lot of important things. You may affect their learning ability if you do not give them away at the right time. Later on the new owners may have difficulty training or giving commands to the animal.

Poor physical health

During the time when puppies are still dependent on their mothers milk their time in the litter is critical. Therefore if you separate them too quickly you may suffer from poor physical health. The result may be serious health problems.

Prone to illnesses

When puppies do not get enough time to get their mothers milk they will of course be susceptible to illnesses. Even worse they may develop diseases that they will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

Separation anxiety

Dogs separated too early from their litter may also suffer from separation anxiety. This leads to them being stubborn and not listening to commands. If they do not eat they may do nothing at all. These behavioral problems can persist even into adulthood.

How can you avoid separation anxiety in puppies?

The issue of separation anxiety in dogs due to the fact that they were taken away from their litter too soon may appear simple to some people. The puppies might grow out of it they might think. Sometimes that is true. It is also possible that this issue will cause more problems for the puppies which could affect their lives even as they grow older.

Keeping the puppies with the mother and siblings is the best way to prevent separation anxiety as the original owner. Distributing the puppies to others should not be hurried. Wait until you are sure that the puppies have already received the nourishment they require. Make sure you do this at least three months after they have been born.

How can you help puppies suffering from separation anxiety?

A nervous puppy is normal if you just brought it home and noticed it immediately. If the behavior does not change after a few days or weeks thats another story. This is especially true if he does not want to eat do anything or even respond to you at all. All these behaviors indicate separation anxiety in your new pet. His mother was probably separated from him too soon. What can you do to help him?

Now that you are the new parent it is your responsibility to ensure that the puppy is well taken care of. A dog that was separated from its litter too early may be quite challenging to deal with. It requires patience and consideration to deal with this.

If your puppy is having a hard time coping here are some things that you can do:

Give attention

Now that the puppy is in a new environment you have to help him get acclimated to it. Taking the time to pay attention is a great way to accomplish this. Keep in mind that your pup is still longing for his mother so you should replace her. If you spend time with your pet often he will get used to you and that will help him adjust.

Provide warmth

When puppies are sleeping they also crave their mothers warmth. As a result you can take your pet to bed with you for the first few nights. That way he can get used to the warmth and smell of your body. Then he will start to recognize you as his mother or father.

Ensure proper nutrition

You must ensure that your pet is getting healthy food as he grows as he is currently in a critical stage when it comes to nutrition. Preventing illness in your dog is also possible by providing it with proper nutrition. You should also consult a veterinarian if you want to be on the safe side.

Allow socialization

You should allow your new puppy to be around other dogs to help him adjust. Let him socialize with other puppies when you get the chance. You might be able to get by with having another pup at home.

Dangers of keeping puppies together for too long

I want to briefly discuss the dangers of keeping puppies together in a litter too long before I conclude.

Life is never easy is it? It seems that puppies can be harmed even when they are separated at too young an age.

Littermate syndrome occurs when two puppies from the same litter are kept together and grow up together.

Siblings would not all experience this.

When puppies and young dogs with this syndrome are separated they display a number of worrying fear-based behaviors including very severe separation anxiety.


Humans and dogs have so many things in common. For instance their mothers take care of them when they are born. Especially when it comes to nourishment they rely on her. There is a large tendency for them to suffer from separation anxiety if they are separated too early. Due to this puppies should not be given away only a few weeks after they are born.

Separation anxiety from litter should not be ignored since it could lead to further problems. Several things can be done by new parents to help puppies cope with this issue.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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