Q&A: Separating Dam and Puppies

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Do puppies have problems if taken from the dam too early?

Q&A: Separating Dam and Puppies

Q: Is it true that if you pull a puppy away from its mother before the 7 - 8 week period it can possibly have issues later in life? I believe it was called dimensia, but I am not sure.

A: There is in fact a disease called canine dementia [pronounced "dimenshia"], which may be what you are thinking of. It is sometimes called doggy Alzheimer's because it has similar causes and impacts dogs the way Alzheimer's impacts people. The cause of this ailment appears to be the growth of plaque deposits around neurons in the dog's brain.

Here is a good explanation:
http://explorezone.com/columns/future_watch_1999/11_08_alzheimer.htm

I could not find any references connecting the separation of puppies from their dams and dementia. There is a general belief that puppies should stay with their dam and littermates until 7 or 8 weeks to benefit from the mother's training and the social interaction with other pups. Some experts think that "separation anxiety" can develop in pups taken from the dam too soon. Here are two worthwhile articles:

Key stages early in the life of a puppy, including weaning:
http://www.purina.com/breeders/magazine.asp?article=187

Avoid separation anxiety:
http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu/ceps/petcolumns/sepanx.html

   

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