By the time we adopted our dog, Bella, she had already raised a litter of puppies.
And let me tell you, even though we didn’t witness it ourselves, just watching how Bella interacts with our kids, especially when they were little, and seeing how loving and affectionate she is, there’s no doubt in my mind that she was an amazing mom to her pups.
When dogs become mothers, a lot of instincts kick in. Sometimes those instincts manifest themselves in odd ways.
Like when a momma dog just can’t seem to find a place she’s comfortable with. Or when she (sadly) abandons a newborn puppy.
Or when she keeps licking her puppies.
So, why do mother dogs do that? Why do dogs lick their puppies? The quick and easy answer is that it almost all comes down to instinct and love. Dogs lick their puppies to encourage them to breathe, stimulate blood flow, ‘hide’ them from predators, help them excrete waste, clean up after them, and out of love.
Immediately After Birth
As soon as she gives birth, a mother dog licks her puppies for several important reasons:
- To encourage breathing: By gently licking her pups, the mother dog stimulates her puppies to take their first breaths, increasing their odds of survival.
- To stimulate blood flow: Licking also helps in promoting blood circulation throughout the newborns’ bodies, contributing to their overall health and well-being.
- To clean and protect the puppies: The maternal instinct drives mother dogs to clean their puppies right after birth, removing any birthing fluids, and hiding the scent of the newborns from potential predators.
For the first few weeks of their lives, puppies can’t excrete waste on their own.
The mother dog will lick their private areas to help them urinate and defecate properly, ensuring their bodies function smoothly.
Keeping The Den Clean
As much as it might gross you out, it’s the mother dog’s responsibility to clean up after her puppies.
By licking and consuming their waste, she helps maintain the cleanliness of the ‘den’ and prevents the buildup of bacteria and disease-causing germs.
A Display Of Love
Of course, mother dogs love their puppies deeply, and one of the ways they express that affection is through licking.
While it’s true that licking serves various practical purposes, it also solidifies the emotional bond between the mother and her puppies.
Why Is My Dog Licking Her Puppies’ Private Parts?
Even though I already briefly mentioned this above, I want to give it its own section because it is a question I see repeated.
I guess it seems really odd to a lot of people!
This is a natural part of a mother dog’s instincts.
By licking her puppies’ genitals, she stimulates them to start urinating and defecating, which is important for their healthy development.
This behavior ensures that her puppies stay in good health by properly excreting waste.
Why Does My Dog Keep Licking Her Puppies’ Umbilical Cords?
Don’t worry – this is a completely normal and necessary process.
Mother dogs instinctively lick their puppies to provide them with essential care. In addition to cleaning her pups, she is also stimulating their genitals and encouraging them to breathe properly.
By doing this, Mom is doing what she can to help her little ones grow healthy and strong.
Does My Dog Need My Help With Her Puppies?
In most cases, if your dog is performing her usual licking routine, she doesn’t need your help.
In fact, she might even prefer some personal space when tending to her puppies, as this allows her to feel that they are safe and protected.
It’s important to remember that although your beloved pet may be a bit preoccupied with her new responsibilities, she still loves you dearly.
Just be patient and give her the time and space she needs to care for her puppies during this time.
Rest assured, your dog knows what she’s doing and is properly nurturing her little ones.
Summary And Conclusion: Why Is My Dog Licking Her Puppies?
A mother dog licking her puppies is a natural behavior driven by instinct and love.
It serves many important functions in the early life of puppies. Immediately after birth, the mother dog licks her pups to stimulate their breathing, promote blood flow, clean them, and remove their newborn scent to protect them from predators.
By licking her puppies, a mother dog is also stimulating excretion in them during their first few weeks of life, aiding their bodily functions and keeping the den clean.
And don’t forget, dogs lick their puppies as an expression of a mother’s love for her puppies.
Concerns like a mother dog licking her puppies’ private parts or their umbilical cords are all part of their instincts, helping in healthy development and growth.
In most cases, the mother dog doesn’t need human intervention in this process, as she knows what she’s doing and will continue to nurture her little ones sufficiently.
This nurturing behavior lays the foundation for the puppies’ health, growth, and well-being, and strengthens the bonds between mother and offspring.