How Many Pups Die In Litters? Puppy Mortality

Owning a new litter of puppies is incredibly heartwarming, but the fear of losing one or more to puppy mortality can also be overwhelming. Surprisingly, about 50% of neonatal puppies pass away due to various reasons. How many pups die in litters?

This blog post aims to provide you with insights into this hard-hitting issue and navigate the complexities surrounding puppy mortality rates. So let’s dive right in and ensure your little furballs have their best shot at life!

how many pups die in litters

Key Takeaways

  • About 50% of newborn puppies die in the first few weeks of life, with fading puppy syndrome being a common cause.
  • Causes of puppy mortality include inadequate care and nutrition from the mother dog, infections such as canine herpesvirus, birth defects, and genetic abnormalities.
  • Factors contributing to puppy mortality include non – infectious factors like low birth weight and poor maternal care, as well as infectious factors like bacterial and viral diseases.
  • Preventive measures for reducing puppy mortality include ensuring a healthy mother dog, providing a clean environment, monitoring for signs of illness or distress, and seeking veterinary assistance when needed.

Understanding Puppy Mortality

Fading puppy syndrome is a term used to describe the condition in which newborn puppies fail to thrive and ultimately die within the first few weeks of life.

Definition of fading puppy syndrome

Fading puppy syndrome is a term you may hear. It is when a healthy-looking puppy starts to get sick fast and passes away in less than two days. Often, these puppies are part of large litters.

They tend to have low birth weights and don’t grow like their brothers or sisters. This problem causes around half of all newborn puppy deaths.

Causes of fading puppy syndrome

Fading puppy syndrome, also known as neonatal mortality, is responsible for about 50% of newborn puppy deaths. There are several causes for this condition. One common cause is inadequate care and nutrition from the mother dog.

If the mother dog doesn’t have enough milk or isn’t able to nurse the puppies properly, they may not get the nutrients they need to survive. Another cause can be infections, such as canine herpesvirus or bacterial infections that the puppies contract either before birth or shortly after.

Other factors like birth defects or genetic abnormalities can also contribute to fading puppy syndrome. It’s important to provide proper veterinary care and nutrition to pregnant dogs in order to reduce the risk of this condition.

Common clinical signs

Newborn puppies may show various signs if they are not doing well. Some common clinical signs include weak or unresponsive behavior, difficulty breathing, inability to nurse properly, poor weight gain, and a lack of interest in their surroundings.

These signs can indicate underlying health issues that need immediate attention. If you notice any of these symptoms in your puppy, it is important to consult with a veterinarian right away for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Early intervention can greatly improve the chances of survival for these vulnerable little ones.

how many pups die in litters

Factors Contributing to Puppy Mortality

Non-infectious factors, such as inadequate nutrition or poor maternal care, and infectious factors like viral or bacterial infections can both contribute to puppy mortality.

Non-infectious factors

Some non-infectious factors can contribute to puppy mortality. Low birth weights, which are often seen in runts or smaller puppies, increase the risk of neonatal death. Birth defects and congenital anomalies can also lead to stillbirths or early deaths in puppies.

Additionally, large litter sizes may make it more difficult for all puppies to receive adequate nutrition and care from the mother. The breeding kennel, dam and sire characteristics, as well as the mating process itself, can also impact puppy mortality rates.

It’s important to be aware of these non-infectious factors when assessing the health and survival of newborn puppies.

Infectious factors

Infectious factors can also contribute to puppy mortality. Puppies are particularly vulnerable to infections, especially during the first few weeks of life. Common infectious causes include bacterial and viral diseases.

These diseases can be transmitted from the mother to her puppies or through contact with contaminated environments. Puppies may experience symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, respiratory distress, and poor appetite if they become infected.

It is important to provide proper veterinary care and vaccinations to protect puppies against these infectious factors and minimize their risk of mortality. Remember that early detection and treatment are crucial for improving survival rates in puppies affected by infectious diseases.

how many pups die in litters

Prevalence of Puppy Mortality

Neonatal death in puppies is a significant concern, with statistics showing that it can occur in up to 30% of litters.

Normal pre-weaning losses

Many dog owners may wonder about the normal rate of pre-weaning losses in litters. It is important to note that some puppy mortality during this period is considered normal. On average, around 20% of puppies do not survive beyond their first week of life.

This can vary depending on various factors such as breed, litter size, and overall health of the mother dog. While losing a puppy can be heartbreaking, it’s essential to understand that these losses are unfortunately a part of the natural process.

Statistics on neonatal death in puppies

Neonatal death in puppies is a serious issue, with about 50% of newborn puppy deaths occurring during this period. Approximately 30% of pedigree puppies don’t survive the first few weeks of life.

Fading Puppy Syndrome, which accounts for half of all new-born puppy deaths, is a major concern. Factors like low birth weight and congenital anomalies can also increase the risk of neonatal mortality.

Large litters may be more susceptible to these losses as well. It’s important to understand these statistics to take necessary precautions and seek veterinary assistance if needed when caring for newborn puppies.

Prevention and Treatment

To prevent fading puppy syndrome, ensure proper nutrition and care for the mother during pregnancy and provide a clean and comfortable birthing environment. If fading puppy syndrome occurs, prompt veterinary care is crucial to increase chances of survival.

Tips for preventing fading puppy syndrome

To prevent fading puppy syndrome and increase the chances of your puppies surviving, there are a few things you can do. First, make sure that the mother dog is healthy before breeding her.

This includes regular vet check-ups and vaccinations. Second, provide a clean and warm environment for the puppies after they are born. Keep their bedding clean and ensure they have enough warmth to regulate their body temperature.

Third, ensure that the mother dog has enough milk to feed all of her puppies. If she is struggling to produce enough milk, you may need to supplement with bottle feeding or find a foster mother for the puppies.

Managing and treating fading puppy syndrome

If your puppy is experiencing fading puppy syndrome, it’s important to act quickly. The first step is to provide them with warmth and comfort in a quiet and stress-free environment.

You should also make sure they are getting enough nutrition by bottle-feeding them every 2-3 hours if necessary. If you notice any signs of illness, such as loss of appetite or difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian right away.

They may recommend medications or other treatments to help support your puppy’s immune system and improve their chances of survival. Remember, early intervention is key when it comes to managing and treating fading puppy syndrome.

how many pups die in litters


In conclusion, puppy mortality is a significant concern for dog owners. About 50% of newborn puppies die in the neonatal period, with fading puppy syndrome being a major cause of death.

Factors such as low birth weight and congenital anomalies can increase the risk of mortality. It’s important for breeders to take preventive measures and seek veterinary assistance if necessary to improve puppy survival rates.


1. What is puppy mortality?

Puppy mortality means puppies dying soon after birth due to neonatal disease or other causes.

2. How common are stillborn puppies and newborn puppy mortality?

Stillbirths in puppies and newborn puppy deaths can happen, but the numbers depend on factors like the size of the litter and health of the pups.

3. What causes most puppy deaths?

Fading puppy syndrome, certain diseases, along with prenatal and neonatal issues often cause most new-born dog deaths.

4. Can breeding strategies reduce puppy mortality?

Yes, right breeding strategies can help in reducing preweaning losses in dogs along with lowering canine perinatal mortality rate.

5. Are there signs to look for if a pup is not doing well?

Symptoms of ill-health might show up early in some cases like lack of feeding or low activity levels, signaling a potentially high risk situation.

6. Is it true that bigger litters have more incidents of death?

Litter size may affect survival rates as larger groups could lead to higher chances of problems causing higher rates of young ones passing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *