Do Pit Bulls Eat Their Puppies? 5 Main Causes and Solutions

The birth of a litter of puppies is often an awaited occurrence. However, it can get tragic as some of the puppies might die because of health complications.

In rare cases, the puppies might die because their own mother ate them. This might seem farfetched, but it’s something that actually happens with various dog breeds, including Pit Bulls.

So, do Pit Bulls eat their puppies? Pit Bulls sometimes eat their puppies. While it’s very disturbing, it’s part of the maternal instinct in Pit Bulls, and it doesn’t happen without reason. It could happen because the mother is feeling extremely anxious and scared or because the puppies were stillborn, among other reasons.

Continue reading to explore more of the reasons why Pit Bulls might eat their puppies and how to prevent it from happening.

Do Pit Bulls Eat Their Puppies? 

a photo of a pit bull with her puppies to show if pit bulls do eat their puppies

Pit Bulls, like many other dog breeds, might eat their puppies. 

It tends to happen shortly after delivery or several days later, and even though it’s a rare occurrence, it’s not completely unnatural, and it happens for a reason. You can learn about the Pitbull’s pregnancy timeline here, by the way, to learn what to expect when your Pitbull gets pregnant.

Before we get into why Pit Bulls would consume her puppies, it’s crucial to understand that animals don’t have the same sense of morality as humans do and that they’re merely acting on their natural instincts.

5 Common Reasons Why Pit Bulls Eat Their Puppies

As a responsible pet parent, you need to understand why dogs behave a certain way, especially when it comes to their safety and the safety of their puppies. 

Understanding the reasons behind their behavior will also help you learn how to prevent any undesirable outcomes in the future.

There are various reasons why a Pit Bull mother might eat her own puppies, so let’s take a look at some of the most notable ones below.


Cannibalism occurs when one animal eats another of the same kind. It’s highly uncommon in dogs, particularly if the puppy is born at home rather than in a noisy or crowded kennel. 

Pit Bull mothers might become cannibalistic right at birth or several days after.

Inability to Recognize The Puppies

The Pit Bull mother might not recognize the puppies as her own, which could lead her to harm them or eat them. 

This is more common with dogs that deliver puppies through C-section procedure because they don’t release the hormones that allow them to identify their puppies which are usually released during natural birth.

Another explanation is that newborn puppies behave in a manner that resembles that of prey animals such as rodents. Since Pit Bulls are bred to hunt some prey animal, they might fail to recognize the puppies as their own and think of them as prey instead.


Mastitis is a condition where the mother’s teats get infected. Symptoms of infection include redness, swelling, hardness, and pain when touched.

When the puppies try to feed on the mother’s tears, she’ll experience a lot of pain which will cause her to reject the puppies. This rejection might escalate to violence toward them which could lead her to eat them.

Luckily, this condition is easily treated through medication. So, if you notice any of the symptoms in the dog, make sure to take her to a vet and separate her from her puppies until the treatment is done.

Anxiety or Fear

Anxiety and fear in animals can lead them to behave aggressively.

A Pit Bull mother might get anxious or scared during birth because there are too many people present. She might also get anxious after birth because someone might try to get too close to her puppies.

Even though the mother is inherently protective of her puppies, her anxiety and fear might cause her to lash out and harm them instead.

The Puppies Are Sick or Stillborn

When one or more of the puppies is obviously sick at birth or stillborn, the rest of the litter could be at risk.

That’s the mother will act on instinct to reduce that risk to protect the rest of the puppies in the litter by eating the sick or stillborn puppies. 

However, this doesn’t often happen with domesticated dogs, as they tend to just reject the sick or stillborn puppies and might move them away from the rest of the litter without eating them. 

How to Stop Pit Bulls from Eating Their Puppies?

Now that you know some of the reasons why Pit Bulls might eat their pups, you need to know what you can do to prevent it from happening in the future.

Keep in mind that simply separating the puppies from their mother at birth will significantly cause more stress and make the problem worse.

So, here are some tips you can follow to stop Pit Bulls from eating or harming their puppies in any way.

  • Make sure that the birth environment is comfortable and not too crowded to avoid stressing the mother. Makes sure to provide the mother with enough food and water as well as comfortable bedding.
  • Try not to get too close to the mother and her puppies after birth as she might perceive your approach as a threat.
  • Avoid delivering puppies through C-section unless it’s absolutely detrimental to the mother’s health.
  • Avoid breeding Pit Bulls with genetic health problems to reduce the chances of their puppies being sick at birth or stillborn.
  • If the mother has Mastitis, make sure to provide her with treatment and isolate the pups after delivery and feed them with a bottle till the mother heals.
  • Make sure to monitor the mother and puppies at all times to see if she’s rejecting them or harming them in any way.

Related Questions 

Do Pit Bulls Bite Their Puppies? 

Pit Bulls might bite their puppies because they are feeling too stressed or anxious. They’re not trying to harm their puppies on purpose, but the stress and anxiety will cause them to lash out violently at those around them, including their human companions, as a defense mechanism.

Will a Pit Bull Reject Her Puppies if They Have a Human Scent?

A Pit Bull will not reject her puppies if they have a human scent, especially if the Pit Bull is used to being around humans. This is a common belief because sometimes Pit Bulls reject their puppies, but the real reason is that they cannot recognize the puppies as their own or the puppies are sick.

Helpful Resources

Why Do Dogs Eat Their Puppies?

Why Do Mother Dogs (Sometimes) Eat Their Puppies?

The Reason Why Dogs (Sometimes) Eat Their Puppies…

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