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The effect of early separation from the mother on pups in bonding to humans and pup health

By J. M. Slabbert, O. A. E. Rasa

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The separation of young dogs from their dams (n = 20) one litter from each bitch (n=55) at the age of 6 weeks had a negative effect on the physical condition and weight gain of separated pups compared with that of pups with maternal contact till 12 (n=40) weeks. Disease susceptibility and mortality was higher in pups with a shorter maternal contact period. These factors were related to behavioural measurements of separation stress. However, early separation had no significant advantage to socialisation with humans, provided that separated and nonseparated pups had daily human contact. Early separation therefore did not improve dog/human bonding processes but lowered condition and increased mortality in separated pups.

Date 1993
Publication Title Journal of the South African Veterinary Association
Volume 64
Issue 1
Pages 4-8
ISBN/ISSN 0038-2809
Language English
Author Address Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria, 0002 Pretoria, South Africa.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal diseases
  3. Animal health and hygiene
  4. Animal rights
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Death rate
  7. Dog diseases
  8. Dogs
  9. Genetics
  10. Interactions
  11. Mammals
  12. Maternal effects
  13. mortality
  14. peer-reviewed
  15. Pets and companion animals
  16. Primates
  17. Socialization
  18. Stress
  19. young animals
  1. peer-reviewed