Is it common for puppies to die in a litter?

The mortality rate is estimated to be around 20-30% of pedigree puppies born alive in the first three weeks of life. Fading puppy syndrome is a term used to describe puppies that are apparently normal at birth, but who gradually fade and die within the first two weeks of life.

Is it common for puppies to die in a litter?

The mortality rate is estimated to be around 20-30% of pedigree puppies born alive in the first three weeks of life. Fading puppy syndrome is a term used to describe puppies that are apparently normal at birth, but who gradually fade and die within the first two weeks of life. Normal pre-weaning losses in dogs, including stillborn puppies, can be up to thirty percent (30%), and approximately half of these deaths occur within the first week of life. The number of puppies that survive in a litter depends to a large extent on the size of the litter.

The fewer puppies born at a time, the more likely they are all to survive; however, with large litters, say eight puppies, it is not uncommon for only 4 to 5 puppies to survive. Death usually occurs within the first five days of life, but can occur up to ten weeks of age. Responsible for approximately 50% of newborn puppy deaths. About 30% of pedigree puppies die in their first few weeks of life, and only about half of them die from identifiable causes.

The term fading puppy syndrome describes puppies that appear to be born normal, but who die gradually within two weeks of birth. Pre-weaning puppies, including stillbirths, typically die at a rate of up to 30 percent, with about half of those losses occurring in the first week of life, VCA reported. There are a variety of different things that can cause fading puppy syndrome because newborn puppies are very vulnerable, but there are some common causes to consider. This is one of the reasons why small puppies need to be close to their mother and littermates; they are a source of heat.

While breastfeeding puppies is the most natural thing in the world for a dog mother, just like human mothers, dogs don't always have enough milk or nutritious enough milk to feed all their puppies, especially if they have a large litter. It usually affects puppies within the first three weeks of life, but they may suffer similar problems until they are 10 weeks old. In addition, puppies are unable to regulate their glucose, so long intervals between meals leave them at risk of hypoglycemia. If a puppy is born with a compromised immune system, it will usually die within the first five days of life.

However, puppies are still at high risk for the first three weeks, which is when they are most likely to develop fading puppy syndrome. As a responsible breeder, it's vital that you can identify when one of your newborn puppies needs your help. Many common bacteria can cause overwhelming sepsis and death in a vulnerable puppy in a very short time. Like other animals that have multiple births, it is not unusual for dogs to give birth to puppies that are born stillborn or that have puppies that die soon after birth.

There are many reasons why puppies are extremely vulnerable during the first few weeks of life. Your puppy's body temperature drops too low for any reason, it's one of the main reasons young puppies die. Puppies should be closely monitored during the first few weeks of life to ensure that their health is on track and that any of the key symptoms of a wilting puppy can be treated quickly. If you have a puppy that dies, a necropsy (autopsy) should be performed to determine the cause of death.

There may be a known cause, but approximately 55% of puppies lost to this condition have no identifiable cause, so knowing if a newborn puppy is dying isn't always simple. .

Calvin Holmer
Calvin Holmer

An owner of three great dogs and an avid learner. Experienced with training dogs of all sizes and personalities (including the stubborn small ones!)