Can Puppies Leave Mother at 6 Weeks? The True Cost of Abandonment

Can puppies leave mother at 6 weeks

Can puppies leave mother at 6 weeks? This is a popular question for dog lovers as the consequences of having to re-home a puppy too soon may be grave for both owner and puppy.

At the same time, knowing the answer to this question will help prospective puppy owners to choose only responsible breeders. Here are the facts about the right time to re-home a puppy.

Can Or Should Puppies Leave this Young?

To properly address this question, it is important to distinguish between can puppies leave this young or should puppies leave this young. This is because physically, puppies can leave their mothers even at 6 weeks old since at this age, they are already weaned and are getting used to solid food.

However, it is at this stage that they are adjusting to solid food, which means they have to be protected from stress as much as possible.

At this age, the puppy is vulnerable to indigestion and stomach upset. Therefore, it is definitely not a good time to uproot a puppy from the environment it has grown familiar with.

True Cost of Abandonment at 6 Weeks Old

According to experts, puppies should only be separated from their mother and siblings at eight weeks old. There are very well researched reasons why it is costly to adopt or purchase a dog at 6 weeks old. These reasons include:

1. Bite inhibition is a long process

Bite inhibition is taught to the puppy at a very young age. It is a normal part of their behavioural development.

However, it is observed that puppies at 5-6 weeks old tend to bite harder than older puppies. This is because they learn the difference between biting for fun and painful biting through their mother and siblings.

2. Behavioural problems

As mentioned earlier, puppies learn to adjust to their environment through their mother and siblings.

Thus, removing them at a young age will result to behavioural problems that include destructiveness, toy and food possessiveness, excessive barking, attention-seeking, and reactivity to noises among others.

3. Being a singleton puppy

Another issue that comes with removing a very young puppy from the nest is the fact that they are removed from their playmates. This means you will need to put more effort on the puppy to ensure he or she is well socialized.

4. Establishing Social Ranking

It is within the 6-8 weeks of a puppy’s life that their natural temperament begins to become apparent. This is also the time when the mother teaches her puppies the social rules.

Removing a little pup at this stage may lead to a socially and emotionally crippled puppy that could potentially affect him or her behaviourally throughout adulthood.

How You Can Help Address the Problem

Unfortunately, it is naïve and lazy to believe that breeder will act in both you and your puppy’s interest. At the end of the day, they are running a business.

Sadly, some breeders want to make money so bad that they are willing to sell out their ethics as well. Here are some ways you can address the problem of removing puppies from the nest at a very young age.


Educate and inform yourself so that you can share these important facts when faced with a breeder who lacks both information and experience.

In most cases, breeders who sell puppies at an earlier age also lack the knowledge to produce a good genetic product. In most cases, they do not have the personal responsibility or the latest information on how to raise well-adjusted puppies.


By arming yourself with knowledge and information, you can stay away or even report breeders who adhere to poor breeding practices. More importantly, you can withdraw support and refuse to fund breeders who do not care about the lives that they are selling.


There are ethical and well-informed breeders out there. You have to take the time and energy to find these breeders and research more about their practices before you support or purchase a puppy from them.

Make sure you spread the information as well and promote only those that have ethical practices in this industry.

In Conclusion

Six-week old puppies are not yet fully developed emotionally, physically, and socially. They are at risk of health and behavioural problems when they are uprooted from their mothers and siblings at a very young age.

While there are ethical breeders out there, there are also a number of those who don’t care about the puppy or the future owner’s wellbeing. Therefore, it is your responsibility to exert effort into researching and investigating these unethical breeders.

Do you have additional information you wish to share? Or maybe you have questions about the topic. If so, feel free to write them in the comment section below.


Anna Stewart

Hello!! I'm Anna. I have many hobbies about pets and animal, especially about dogs. In this blog I will share those necessary things you need to know about your dogs like behaviors, training, favorites, health care ... and more. Visit my blog regularly and share the fun with your dogs.

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David Reply

Hi Anna

I have a question for you regarding the 6 week article above. The breeder I am getting my pup from just fell on extremely hard times and because of it she has to have me get my new pup at 6 weeks rather than 8 as previously agreed upon. If I take this pup what can I do to make sure that the issues typically seen in puppies removed this early do not become an issue?

Robert Reply

Hi I’ve had to get my 6 wk old puppy away from mother early as vet says mother is to stressed what issues may I have getting him early
Many thanks

Lou Reply

Hi Anna,
My parents have recently bought a Jack Russel puppy at 6 weeks, I voiced my concerns about future health problems and they were told the puppy was already on solid food. Should they continue with puppy milk along side with food? If yes how long for?

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