How long can mom be away from puppies?

how long can mom be away from puppies


Before we begin the conversation on the separation of puppies from their mother, we must state categorically that there is both a required time as there is an advised time. However, socialization and breastfeeding are two very important factors we would consider in explaining when puppies should be separated from their mother:

BREASTFEEDING – Feeding is the most important reason why a puppy should stay with its mother for as long as possible. This is because only breast milk contains the exact nutritional composition, necessary for the puppy’s proper development and growth.

The mother’s milk contains a substance called “colostrums,” that protects her puppies by preventing any infection. Subsequently, the mother’s breast milk is a source of all the essential nutrients that aid the growth of her young ones, as well as provides defenses, enzymes, and hormones. During this period, the mother must be fed well so as not to affect the health of her offspring.


In addition to breastfeeding, another very important reason why a puppy must remain with its mother for at least a brief period after its birth is so that its education is not initiated by the human family.

During the lactation period, the mother commences the socialization of the puppy and teaches it how to communicate with its kind. Being a social animal with the need to belong to a herd, this vital lesson from the mother creates a sense of safety in the dog. If a dog does not socialize properly, it suffers behavioral problems such as insecurity, fear, and apprehension with others of the same species in the future. In addition to teaching the puppy the basic rules of communication between dogs, the mother will also teach it how to behave in the environment in which they live and how to live with other living things (humans, cats, birds, etc).

When then should a puppy be separated from his mother?

The least time required for a puppy to be with its mother is 6 weeks; this is the period in which the puppy begins to be weaned. It is common for weaning to last approximately 8 weeks, making it the most suitable time to separate the puppy from its mother.

It is necessary to note that the longer a puppy stays with its mother, the better it will be for it, and hence, it is advisable to leave a puppy together with its mother until it is about 3 months of age.


Puppies should only be weaned prematurely in instances where the mother could not take care of them for health reasons or behavioral disorders, other than that, allowing a minimum of 2 months for mother and child is essential.

Keep in mind that weaning a puppy prematurely can cause a variety of problems:

  • Decreased Immune System Response
  • Behavioral disorders at adulthood
  • Hyperactivity, aggressiveness, and anxiety
  • Misbehavior with other dogs


If you want the best for your puppy you have to wait. Contrary to what many people assume, prematurely separating a puppy from its mother can lead to a lot of problems and it does not assist its adaptation to the human home.

Although when a puppy arrives at your home, it will still require so much care, of which you will be responsible for; however, human care, does not in any way replace the primary role of the mother during the early months of the dog’s life.

In this regard, you should know that if you truly desire the best for your puppy, it is not advisable to take it home with you before 2 months of age.


Weaning should be commenced from 8 weeks of life and, upwards. At this time, the puppy should be offered wet food as it gradually adapts to your new diet.

It is recommended that the puppies shouldn’t be taken away from their mother all at the same time, especially before the first 8 weeks of their life, as doing this can cause depression in the dog as well as problems and irregularities related to milk production, such as mastitis. On the other hand, if weaning is done gradually, the mother will instinctively know that her puppies are independent and the separation will not be harmful to the mother and her young one.

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