At What Age Can Puppies Be Removed From Their Mother?

At What Age Can Puppies Be Removed From Their Mother?

The ideal minimum age that puppies should be taken from the mother is 8 weeks. Many recommend that puppies be with their mother until 12 weeks of age.


  • Feeding is one of the important reasons why puppies should not be removed from their mother too soon. A mother dog’s milk contains a suitable nutritional composition to sustain the puppies and help them develop properly.
  • Eventually, the mother will begin weaning her puppies. She will stop them from drinking as much milk as before and start encouraging her pups to eat solid food. 


  • A puppy’s development requires more than meeting its physical needs. There are also psychological and social needs that the puppy learns from the mother and siblings.
  • An average litter usually consists of 5 to 8 puppies. The socialization process begins as early as day one, with the mother caring for the litter, and continues with the siblings playing with each other. This process is essential for how they will interact with the world as adult dogs.
  • The puppies learn bite inhibition, essential communication, boundaries of behavior, and many other lessons from interacting with the litter. Dogs are social animals that enjoy being part of the pack. It helps them to feel confident and provides security.
  •  If denied these experiences, puppies may feel insecure and unsafe and display behavioral problems when they become adult dogs.

What are the consequences of removing a puppy from its mother too soon?

  • The puppy will not receive the hormones, enzymes, antibodies, and other critical physical benefits from their mother’s milk if they are weaned too early, which means they may not develop well.  
  •  Separating a puppy from its mother too soon can have an incredibly harmful effect psychologically on the puppy. It is the most common reason a dog will develop behavioral issues later in life.
  • Since puppies learn to control their mouth’s force by interacting with their mother and siblings, there is a good chance they will have problems biting when taken away too early.   
  •  Puppies learn the bits of knowledge and limitations explained above, starting at about 3 weeks old and ending at around 12 weeks old. Removing the puppy during this time, especially during the early stages, can be a very traumatic experience.