Could My Dog Have Postpartum Depression?

My American Pitbull has just had 7 beautiful pups. It has been one week. Since the day after her delivery, she has been aggressive towards me. She has shown teeth and has tried to nip me. My girl pal and I have always been close. However, she has not been herself. Is it possible she has postpartum depression or am I missing something? Got any ideas? She's 3 yrs. old and this is her 1st litter.


C.L. from Chicago, Illinois

December 21, 20070 found this helpful

She's being a good mother, guarding her pups from anyone who might harm them. Give her time. As the pups grow, she'll lighten up and remember you're her friend.

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December 22, 20070 found this helpful

My dogs have had a few litters within the past years; they are a gentle toy breed. This is a natural behavior for mother dogs, especially towards males, whether animal or human. It is a bit odd that she is doing this towards you, her master. Our girls have never done that to my husband, just to visitors. It is probably because of the breed you have. During a dog's motherhood, many natural in-born instincts come out that you don't often see day-to-day, and agressive behaviours could be elevated at this time. As the puppies get older, it will gradually wear off.

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December 22, 20070 found this helpful

I knew a gal who TOTALLY changed her personality after giving birth to her son. This was back in the mid 1970's before everyone was talking about "Post paratum depression". Her husband HAD to FORCE HER to feed the poor baby... Eventually she broke the poor little baby's arm by picking him up by it while he was sleeping...(Of course the father stepped in & had the baby moved to relatives for several months while she "healed") Before the birth, she was a normal person, but afterwards, she wasn't ever really the same... She DID get "BETTER", but wasn't ever the same. I've since asked several midwives about her & they've told me that because of the hormones & the oxytocin that's released when giving birth that this kind of thing CAN change a person's personality...especially someone that might have been "borderline" in the first place... The gal above did a "360" personality change...... These days, things are different. We now have drugs & counseling that can help with postpartum depression...

If this can happen to a human, then why can't this also happen to a dog? I'd call a vet & ask for help. You don't want your dog to hurt a child (or an adult)... She will PROBABLY get better when the pups are weaned, (but don't count on it) Until then... Beware! & Be super careful! ... We don't want to hear about you & your dog on the news because she's hurt or killed someone!

---> My son also has a "Pit Bull" so I know how sweet they can be... But pit bulls, like many dogs, can "Turn" on a dime... So, USE CAUTION!

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December 24, 20070 found this helpful

My friend had a Yorkshire terrier - she never even had a litter of pups - but after each season - then add the gestation period for a liter - around the time when she would have given birth she would become really strange. Even though she was not in pup she would make her nest ready to give birth, then for about a fortnight she would growl, lay about, shiver, whine, she had a phantom birth each time. She was a lovely little dog but her personality changed totally each year or so, for about a fortnight - so yes I do think dogs can have hormonal problems and depressions. Also your dog might be snappy because instinct is kicking in and it is her job to protect her babies, lots of normally gentle bitches turn snappy when they have their new babies.


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December 26, 20070 found this helpful

She's probably protecting her puppies. Maybe check with your vet. Also, you could try taking her out, just the two of you, and spending some fun, one-on-one time with just her. She may be stressed from being a new mom, too.

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December 26, 20070 found this helpful

She is nervous and being maternal, so she is defending her pups. She is not depressed, which would look like apathy and maybe abandoning the pups. You need to boss her well enough to wade right through the aggression, maybe with a heavy leather glove on your hand. Consult the vet you relied upon for the prenatal care and will use for the pups' vaccinations.

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January 2, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks EVERYONE that gave their experience and input. Here's what happen. As I read your reviews, I thought what had I done differently. My girl pal and I would spend 15 to 20 minutes in the morning and evening exercising. She loved her play time! I thought that since she had just had pups that exercise would be the last thing on her mind. I WAS TOTALLY WRONG! I thinking was that of a woman having children, instead of an animal having pups!! She needed and wanted her exercise which keeps her calm and active. Well I took her out with her favorite toy and low and behold she wanted to play. I put her back on her regular schedule and she became her old self. Even brought her pups to me. It is now week three and I see the light. AGRESSIVE DOGS NEED AND DEMAND EXERCISE OR CHORES TO KEEP THEM CALM! THEY ARE OF COURSE WORK DOGS. Thanks again for your concern and input.

C.L. - Chicago

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