Do Mom Dogs Miss Their Puppies After Adoption?

Do mom dogs miss their puppies after adoption and do they feel sad when their puppies go to new homes?

This is a question that lots of people, like vets, dog breeders, and people who’ve had dogs for a long time, wonder about.

The Truth Behind If Mom Dogs Miss Their Pups

Some people tell stories that make it seem like the mom dogs do get sad for a little while because they miss their puppies.

But, other people think that mom dogs are really good at adjusting and don’t stay sad for long, if at all.

This is interesting because it shows that dogs might have feelings kind of like people do, and it makes us think about how dogs might show their feelings in different ways.

And hey, speaking of feelings, a common question pops up quite often: Do puppies and their moms recognize each other if they meet again later in life?

When we think about a mom dog watching her puppies leave, we might feel that it’s a pretty big deal for her.

Trying to understand how dogs feel is a bit like going on an adventure, where we look at what they do, learn from studies, and also think about what we feel in our own hearts.

On the other hand, there are instances where dog mothers seem to adjust quickly and do not display notable signs of distress once their puppies are rehomed.

It’s also worth noting that domesticated dogs have been bred for centuries to adapt to human environments and social structures, and this could influence their post-weaning behaviors and emotional responses.

Signs Your Mom Dog Misses Their Puppies

Change In Appetite

Picture this: the little ones have left, and momma dog might stroll over to her food bowl with a somewhat detached demeanor.

It’s not that she’s no longer hungry, per se; her mealtime just might not hold the same joy without her playful pups around.

It’s pretty much like when we find no joy in our favorite food because we’re feeling a bit blue.

But remember, constant vigilance is key!

Keeping an eye on her eating habits, whether she’s eating less or maybe indulging a bit more, can offer you neat insights into how she’s coping and, of course, ensure she stays healthy during this transition.


Ever noticed how a once bubbly and energetic momma dog, post-puppy departure, might slump into a more mellow version of herself?

It’s as if the zest has been zapped right out of her.

Sure, it might be tempting to think she’s just catching up on some well-deserved rest (raising pups is no small feat, after all!).

But dig a little deeper, and you might discover that her newfound tranquility is perhaps a shade melancholic.

Ensuring she’s engaged, even in the simplest of activities, can forge a path back to her lively self while navigating through this quietude.


Picture a mom dog, her eyes perhaps flickering with a tender wistfulness, distancing herself from the hustle and bustle of household life.

It’s like she’s erected invisible walls, separating herself from the rest, perhaps to shield her vulnerable heart.

And, while respecting her need for space is crucial, nudging her gently with affectionate gestures and gradual re-introduction to social scenarios can weave a beautiful tapestry of comfort around her, slowly pulling her from the shadows of isolation.


Barking, whining, or any unusual vocal expressions can actually be whispers of her inner turmoil, seeking solace in the only way she knows how.

So, lend a compassionate ear and respond with gentle reassurances.

It’s like when we just need a friend to lean on, our four-legged pals too find solace in knowing they’re heard and understood.

Looking For Them

And this one’s a tad heart-tugging if you ask me.

It’s when mom dog paces around, her nose burrowing into familiar spots, seeking those cherished scents of her departed pups.

Observing this can be like watching a silent movie where you know the dialogues but hear them not.

It’s imperative here to divert this yearning into positive outlets, perhaps through play or a comforting cuddle, assuring her that while her pups are gone, she’s certainly not alone.

What Can We Do To Make Our Mom Dogs Feel Better?

Use The Gradual Weaning Process

It’s a bit like when kids transition from sippy cups to regular glasses, isn’t it?

Mother dogs, attentive and nurturing, gradually introduce their puppies to solid foods, usually around 3-4 weeks of age.

It’s not just a whimsical decision; it’s a vital one to ensure the pups learn to get nutrition without solely depending on mom.

By easing them into solid foods, the little ones start becoming independent, learning the ropes of feeding themselves, and this, in turn, makes the eventual separation a tad bit easier on the mom, wouldn’t you agree?

Staged Separations

Can you imagine the shock of suddenly not having your little ones around after weeks of them being the center of your universe?

Staged separations, wherein the puppies are taken away for short durations initially, help in cushioning that emotional impact for the mother dog.

It’s akin to short practice runs before the eventual race.

It accustomeds mom to the impending reality of not having her puppies around all the time, easing her gently into the upcoming permanent separation.

Keeping Familiar Smells Around

How comforting is it to have something familiar around when everything else seems to be changing?

When puppies leave, having toys or blankets around that carry their scent can be a comforting remnant of their presence for a mother dog.

It’s a familiar scent, a trace of her offspring that provides a subtle reassurance, a soft echo of her puppies, making the absence slightly more bearable, don’t you think?

Love And Cuddles

Showering the mother dog with additional attention and comfort during the separation process helps fill the void left by her absent puppies.

It’s about showing her that, even with her babies gone, she is still cherished and valued.

Spending that extra time playing with her or simply being there can make a world of difference to her emotional state.

Physical Comfort 

A mother dog, having recently weaned her puppies, might experience some physical discomfort.

Ensuring she’s comfortable, addressing any concerns like mastitis (inflammation in her mammary glands), and providing a cozy spot for her to rest, can make her post-separation days physically smoother and essentially, more serene.

Engage Her In Activities

Engaging the mom in activities, be it playful romps in the yard or peaceful walks, can act as a beautiful distraction from her loss.

These activities not only deviate her attention but also help in maintaining her physical health, ensuring that her life continues to be lively and spirited, even in the absence of her little ones.

Ensure General Health

Sometimes, we forget how physical health and emotions intertwine, don’t we?

And this next one is actually one of the most important things to do for our dog’s well-being.

Keeping a watchful eye on the mother dog’s health, both physical and mental, is crucial after her puppies leave.

Is she eating well? Is she engaging in activities?

Monitoring her ensures that any post-separation health concerns, whether due to stress or other factors, are promptly addressed, securing her well-being amidst the emotional whirlwind.

How Do Puppies Feel In This Situation?

Imagine being a tiny pup, leaving mom and your brothers and sisters, and going to live with a new family.

That’s a big change!

Puppies, just like kids, might feel a little sad or confused when they move to a new place.

They have to get to know new people, new smells, and a whole new routine.

Puppies might look for things that remind them of their mom and siblings.

Some might snuggle into soft blankets because it feels like their warm, cozy mom.

Others might be a bit shy or nervous to explore their new home right away.

That’s because everything is so new and different!

Now, if you’re bringing home a puppy, here’s your job: make their move easy and fun!

Give them lots of love, play with them, and set a routine with regular times for meals, potty breaks, and naps.

By doing this, you help them feel safe and turn your home into their new, happy place.

It’s like building a little safety net of love and care around them, so they can start exploring and having fun in their new world without worries!

Can They Recognize Each Other Later?

Picture this: Two dogs, once mother and pup, now separated for years, cross paths once again.

Can they recognize each other after all this time apart?

The scientific community swirls with debates and studies on this matter.

Dogs, celebrated for their remarkable sense of smell, can identify each other through scent, even after a considerable duration.

Yet, whether they recognize the depth of their biological relationship remains a delightful mystery.

There are tales and anecdotes, heartwarming stories shared by dog parents, that speak of joyous reunions, seemingly indicating a spark of recognition.

But whether it’s a genuine acknowledgment of kinship or a friendly acknowledgment of a familiar scent, well, that’s a secret perhaps only our four-legged companions hold the key to.

And therein lies the beautifully unsolved mystery of their emotional and cognitive world.

Before You Go…

You now know the signs if mom dogs miss their puppies.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Or watch this video:

Mena Emad, DVM
Mena has a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. His expertise, passion for animal welfare, extensive knowledge, and experience in the field of veterinary medicine make him an excellent resource for our readers.