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Do puppies miss their moms?

Do puppies miss their moms?

Puppies typically leave their mothers after they are weaned, usually at 8-10 weeks. Taking a puppy away from its mother may seem cruel, but it’s not. 

In some cases, it’s possible to allow mom and puppy to stay together. Many times, it’s just not practical. There are also many people who want to adopt a puppy, and can provide them with a good home. 

These are just a few of the reasons puppies are eventually separated from their mom. They do miss their mother, but this is usually temporary. 

Do puppies miss their moms?

The short answer is, yes. Puppies do miss their mom, and their siblings when they leave the litter. However, this typically lasts for just a few days. 

It’s easy to attribute all of your puppies whining to missing their mom, but they are also going through a big adjustment process. It’s impossible to say how much of the process is actually missing their mom. 

Wild Dogs 

In the wild, puppies will sometimes leave their mothers after they’ve grown. However, some species, including the African wild dog, can remain in their family group for years. 

The mother and father also remain together long term, and help raise the pups together. 

Wolves also stick together. They tend to stay with mom and dad, even after they’ve grown up.  

Do Puppies Remember Their Mom? 

One indication that puppies miss their mom is that they remember her later. After all, you can’t miss someone if you don’t remember them! 

It turns out that puppies can remember and identify their mom after being away. Surpisingly, even adult dogs can remember their mother. This suggests that close relationships with family may be the norm in the canine world. 

Do puppies get separation anxiety from their mothers?

Separation anxiety is perfectly normal when your puppy leaves its mother and siblings behind. Your puppy is adjusting to the lack of everyone it knew, and a brand new environment. 

Signs of Separation Anxiety 

When you first bring your puppy home, you are in for a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Your pup is charming and adorable, but they are dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety. 

This can manifest as whining, crying, and howling. They may seem afraid or have difficulty settling down.

Some will become withdrawn, and may even hide in the home. Others may become hyperactive or destructive as a way to cope with anxiety.  

How long does it take for a puppy to miss its mother?

This is difficult to determine, because dogs have a different sense of time than humans. 

Dog Time

Dogs don’t have the same sense of time that we do. They do understand time to an extent, and have their own circadian rhythm. Humans have an episodic memory. 

This means you can remember what happened an hour ago, and even years ago. You are also aware of the time when it happened. You may look back at your first date and have a general idea of where this is on your life timeline, or remember the year. 

Dogs, on the other hand, don’t store memories this way. Instead of being grounded in time, they remember things that make a strong impression on them. 

So, your dog may not have a sense that they have been away from their mother for 1 day, or 2 weeks.

On the other hand, dogs do seem to miss their owners more the longer they are away, up to a point, so how dogs view time in terms of missing someone is still debatable. 

Age Considerations 

Young puppies cannot be away from their mother for very long. Without their mother or a surrogate, they will die. It’s natural for young puppies to miss their mother if they are gone for even a few minutes, because it’s part of their survival instinct. 

In the first 2 weeks, mom will only leave the puppies long enough to handle her physical needs. During the 3rd week, she will begin staying away a bit longer. 

At 4 weeks, mom will begin pushing the puppies away a bit, or taking more time for her herself. As weaning occurs, she will wean them from her attention as well as milk, until they are relatively independent at 8 to 12 weeks. 

What are the signs that a puppy is missing its mother?

There are several signs your puppy is missing its mother. These will vary based on your dogs age and personality. 


It’s normal for a puppy to whine for its mother when first separated from her. It may seem that nothing cheers them up. It’s important to remember it will pass soon. 

Lack of Interest

Your pup may also show a lack of interest in activities. They may not want to eat or play. This is essentially the puppy version of depression or grieving. 

Clingy or Avoidant 

Most puppies will be very clingy during this time. Once they’ve realized you’ll give them love, they want to be by your side constantly. 

Some puppies have the opposite reaction, however. These pups may seem very timid or uninterested in you. 

What can you do to help a puppy that misses its mother?

There are a few things that will help your puppy adjust to life without mom. If you want a happy well adjusted pup, these are the things you need to do. 

Don’t Take the Pup Before They Are Ready

8 weeks old is the earliest a pup should leave their mother. Even then, depending on their breed and personality, they may need a little extra time. 

Removing the puppy from its mother too early makes the process more difficult. Mom will naturally encourage the pup to be independent over time. 

Once this process is complete, they have a much easier time adjusting to life away from mom. 

It’s essentially a fast forward version of how humans raise children. Babies start out completely dependent on their parents. As they age, both the child and the parents initiate some distance. 

By the time the child is 18 or older, they are ready to be on their own, having gone through a lengthy process of separating from mom. Once your puppy has went through this process, they are ready to begin their new life. 

Object From Mom

You probably know dogs have an incredible sense of smell. In fact, dogs recognize each other mostly through their sense of smell. This is also true for puppies. 

When you give your puppy an object that belonged to mom, it will have her smell. This can be very comforting, because it makes them feel like mom is still present. 

It’s also a familiar scent, which helps. Puppies are overwhelmed by many new scents when they go to a new home. Having one scent that is known and familiar can help ease the transition. 


I’ve found that when kids are struggling emotionally, it’s extremely important to keep them occupied. Allowing them too much time to think is the worst thing you can do for their well being. 

Puppies are the same way. No, you shouldn’t play with your puppy constantly, but you should be sure they get plenty of playtime. This will help calm anxiety, and keep their mind off of missing mom. 

Don’t forget that mental stimulation is just as important as physical. Be sure that you are exercising their mind as well as their body. You can do this by taking them for walks, teaching them a trick, and talking to them often. 


Dogs begin their socialization period at 6 weeks old, when they are still with mom. It lasts until they are 12 weeks old. This is the time when your puppy learns how to form bonds with others. 

This applies to both humans and dogs. Your puppy should get acquainted with a range of people and other animals during this period. 

However, you don’t want to overwhelm them early on. Instead, be sure that you are giving them plenty of attention in the first few days. This is the time when they will bond with you the most, so use it wisely.  Once they are settled in and comfortable, you can begin introducing them to others. 

How can you tell if a puppy is well-adjusted without its mother?

It’s pretty clear when your puppy is well adjusted without its mother being around, if you know what to look for. Generally, you’ll see a happy, playful puppy that is comfortable in their environment. 

Before Separating From Mom 

If your wondering if your puppy is ready to separate from mom, there are a few signs to look for. The first, and most obvious, is weaning. If your puppy isn’t completely weaned, it’s not ready to leave its mom. 

The mother’s behavior is also a clue. As the puppy grows, mom will start treating them like a dog instead of a baby. She will stop doting on the pup, and begin pushing it away more often. 

They can still maintain a close bond, but the puppy won’t rely heavily on mom. You’ll see them doing their own thing, often away from their mother. 

Lastly, teaching is key. Mom should have the opportunity to teach the puppy how to be a dog before they head to their new home. Mom will teach the puppy dog etiquette, hunting, and other skills. If she’s actively teaching, it can be better to wait a few more days or a week. She’s passing on important information. 

After The Puppy Leaves Home 

After the puppy leaves mom and settles into their new home, there are new behaviors you should look out for. 

One of the best signs of a well adjusted puppy is affection for their owner. If they are excited when you come home, and greet you wagging their tail, they are adjusting well. 

They should also be playful. Your pup should be up for a game or play session anytime. They should also spend time playing on their own. 

Lastly, your puppy will be happy if they are well adjusted and well taken care of. This can take a little time. They may struggle for the first few days. However, they should soon stop whining, crying, and other behaviors that indicate they are emotionally distressed. 

What are the benefits of a puppy having its mother around?

It’s very important for a puppy to have their mother during their first weeks of life. They need their mother’s milk to survive, but there are also many things mothers teach her puppies as they grow. 

What are the risks of a puppy being away from its mother?

Puppies have several risks when  being away from mom before they are ready. 

The biggest concern is nutrition. If they aren’t weaned, they need their mothers milk to survive. If mom isn’t around, they must be fed puppy formula. 

Being away from mom can also affect the puppy’s emotional and social development, and make training more difficult. 

What happens to puppies that are separated from their mothers too early?

If a puppy is away from its mother too early, it can cause a host of issues. It essentially affects their development, and it can affect them for their entire lives to some degree. 


Dogs who are taken away from their mother too early are prone to anxiety. Their brains are still developing in those early weeks, and being removed from mom creates a huge amount of stress. 

This stress can cause them to be anxious as they grow older. It essentially plants the seeds for anxiety to continue to be a part of their lives. 


Mom and siblings teach the puppies how to interact with other dogs and humans. Mom will teach the puppies not to bite too hard, and how to socialize with other dogs. 

This is the human equivalent of teaching a toddler not to hit or bite people. Imagine if a child didn’t learn this at an early age. They would be more prone to acts of aggression. Without this training, a dog can become aggressive, particularly as they grow older. 

House Training 

Mom probably won’t do all of the house training work for you, but she does lay the ground work. 

Puppies learn early on which surfaces they should pee and poop on. They will carry these preferences for their entire lives. Without moms guidance, your puppy is more likely to think your carpet is the perfect bathroom surface.