Prenatal Stress and Puppies: Implications for Dog Welfare in Commercial-Breeding Kennels – Croney Research Group

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Many dogs in commercial breeding (CB) kennels exhibit fear in response to novel stimuli (Pritchett et al., 2021; Stella et al., 2019). Experiencing chronic fear reduces welfare (Beerda et al., 1997). To minimize fear in dogs and to avoid or reduce chronic fear it is important to understand factors that contribute to its development and identify effective interventions. These include aspects that can be directly controlled by breeders, such as the dog’s socialization, handling, and routine management. Other variables are indirectly controlled by breeders. For example, maternal factors, such as genetics (Arvelius et al., 2014; Goddard & Beilharz, 1982; Ilska et al., 2017) and maternal care (Foyer et al., 2016; Tiira & Lohi, 2015) can affect how puppies respond to fear-inducing, stressful situations. Prenatal stress may have similar effects, based on studies conducted in other species (Bjarne O. Braastad, 1998). Prenatal stress is often overlooked and should be considered when developing strategies to improve dam and puppy welfare.

Romaniak, A., & Croney, C. (2022). Prenatal stress and puppies: Implications for dog welfare in commercial-breeding kennels. Purdue University Extension Education Store. Retrieved January 2, 2023, from

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Topic(s): Behavior, Breeder Resource, Dog Welfare, Prenatal Stress, Puppy Development, Welfare