I was inspired to write this because I have many clients who decide to breed their dogs without doing much research on the topic. These tend to be new owners of a high quality purebred puppy. They recognize this quality and desire to continue this through breeding on their own. This often comes up in my discussion on recommendations for spaying and neutering. Breeding a dog can have many challenges especially if you are unprepared. It may lead to a lot heartache and discomfort so hopefully the information in this post will be very helpful. In the end, you need to ask yourself the questions I pose below to see if you truly are ready to breed your pet.
So what is required knowledge before breeding a pet? This may seem like a silly question at first, but there are many things that novice breeders do not consider at all. This becomes evident with phone calls I receive regarding what to expect from their pregnant female. Some questions include how do I know that my dog is pregnant? How long is the pregnancy? How can I tell when my dog is getting ready to have birth? Another issue is people don’t truly understand the care required for a pregnant female before, during and after delivering puppies. Consider the questions below.
Do you understand the process involved with pregnancy? Do you know the gestation period in a dog? Do you know and understand the three stages of labor? Can you recognize difficulties in the birthing process and when veterinary assistance is required? This is minimal knowledge that is required prior to attempting to breed your dog. Understanding these facts will help you become more prepared if you decide to breed
Even if you can answer those questions, should you still breed? Well let’s see. There are several factors you may want to consider before breeding your pet. Does your female have any potentially inheritable abnormalities? This would include any umbilical or inguinal hernias, malocclusions of the jaw, cherry eye, entropion, extra toes, or missing body parts. There are some medical conditions that are genetic as well. Dogs with conditions like a heart murmur, demodectic mange, or a liver shunt are just a few examples. These conditions can be passed on to the offspring. Breeding a dog with these conditions could cause problems with future customers or owners of these puppies. You may have customers demanding refunds or asking you to covers costs of veterinary bills related to this conditions.
How are you prepared financially? There are many problems that could occur before, during and after the birth. You need to be prepared for the medical expenses. The female may have problems during the birthing process such as difficulty giving birth and weakness during birth due to low calcium. After the birthing process some problems that may occur is infection of the mammary glands, retained placenta, or infection of the uterus. All these minimally require a veterinary visit and could require additional forms of treatment like antibiotics, hospitalization, and even surgery. This could easily add up to hundreds to even thousands of dollars for veterinary care!!!. Even if your female has a non eventful pregnancy you still have to deal with the care of the puppies. A female depending on the breed can have up to 10-11 puppies. All those puppies have to be fed, and when they come to a certain age they will need their vaccines. Unless you are a well established breeder who has a waiting list there is no guarantee you will be able to have your puppies sold or given away when you want them to. All that involves money. Vaccines can cost anywhere from $10-$15 each. Vaccines are usually given every 2-3 weeks in puppies and are important to help control diseases. So the longer you have to keep puppies because you cannot sell them or give them away the more expensive it will be to you. Not to mention the cost of veterinary care if any of your puppies get sick.
In conclusion many people decide to breed their pet prematurely because they are lured by the possibility of making money off of puppies. Doing research and educating your self is very important before deciding to breed your pet. Talk to experienced breeders as well as your veterinarian to get the answers you need. In my career I have seen too many animals suffer because of “unprepared” breeders.