Two unrelated female dogs nurse each other’s puppies

Two unrelated female dogs (bitches) nurse each other’s puppies. I cannot find anything on the Internet which tells me that unrelated female dogs share the parenting of their puppies. I have made the presumption that these females are unrelated because they look very different. That may be a false assumption. However, even if it is, it means that related dogs share parenting. In the world of cats, mothers can share parenting especially when they are related and they live in a colony. This helps spread the load and it works out well. But dogs?

What’s interesting in this video on TikTok is that, it appears that all the puppies of one mother (with the brown coat) are being nursed together by the gray dog and vice versa. It looks very unusual to me. What’s the advantage when both mothers are present at the same time? It might be understandable if one mother was incapacitated or missing but no. Perhaps they are good buddies. It comes from Asia. I am not able to translate the caption! Perhaps the caption will help you understand what is going on.

These look like purebred dogs especially the gray dog. That strongly indicates that they are not related. If you disagree then please leave a comment.

The extraordinary thing is that, as I mentioned in the first line, there is nothing on the Internet which tells me that female dogs share parenting and therefore this strongly suggests that it does not happen. In which case this is a very unusual occurrence.

Female dogs nurse each others puppies
Female dogs nurse each others puppies. Screenshot.

The birth of puppies and the behaviour of their mother are the same for cats and dogs except for a couple of differences. The bitch makes frantic digging movements on the floor of the whelping box. Domestic cats don’t do this. This is reflected in the behaviour of their wild counterparts. Cats do not burrow into the ground when preparing their breeding dens. Instead, they search for a suitable ready-made safe place such as a cavity in a pile of wood or rocks. But the wolf makes its own home and they do a very impressive job. Some wolf dens have several entrances and they are all constructed with great energy and earthmoving. And they build two homes in case they need to remove their offspring from one to the other in an emergency.

The other difference is that newborn kittens establish ownership of one of their mother’s nipples and they do so by the smell. Dogs don’t do this. It is more of a free for all.

I should further note that Dr. Desmond Morris’s book Illustrated Dogwatching does not have any information about bitches nursing another bitch’s offspring and vice versa.

Below are some articles on dog behavior.

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