Things To Consider Before Breeding Your Dog
by Damien Andrews
If you are not a professional dog breeder, there are some things to consider before breeding your dog. Without exception, these are things to consider BEFORE breeding your dog. Breeding your dog is likely much more involved, and more costly, than you might expect.
The very first thing to consider before breeding your dog is simply this: you will not make any money doing it. There are exceptions to this rule, but those exceptions are indeed very few and very far between. Even professional dog breeders turn a minimum of profit. In fact, if you are not already setup to breed your dog, then you almost surely will lose money during the breeding and selling of the puppies.
Before you breed your dog, take into account the following time-consuming responsibilities, and their costs:
• You’ll have to take your female to a veterinarian for a thorough exam – to ensure she is in peak health and physically able to have a litter of puppies.
• A bred female dog, like a pregnant woman, should be given a different diet, which will include certain vitamins. This special diet will add an expense.
• During the end period of her pregnancy, you will again take the female to the vet for an exam to ensure all is well.
• If you are not experienced in helping a dog give birth, then you will need to take the female to the vet’s office for the whelping. If you attempt to do this yourself, and you are not experienced, you may (much to your unhappiness) jeopardize the lives of the litter and the birthing female.
• Some breeds of dog whelp two puppies, others whelp 10 or more. If your breed of dog whelps seven puppies, then you will have to house and cleanup after all of them – as well as a mothering female who is now on a different (lactating) diet and different vitamins. You will almost surely need a whelping box, and some non-toxic cleaning supplies and equipment.
• New puppies, despite being irresistibly cute, are very messy and will need cleaning regularly. As will their whelping box. Their mother will do much of this, but you will need to augment her services regularly.
• The puppies will need to go to the vet at least twice before they are eight weeks old. This can be a real handful – and costly. The puppies will require injections before they reach selling age, which is customarily at eight weeks.
• If your female cannot provide adequate milk for her litter, you will need to feed them yourself. This will require special equipment and supplies – and time.
• Your female dog will only provide milk for the puppies for a few weeks. They will then need to be fed some form of puppy dog food. This does not happen in one day, and you will be required to wean the puppies away from their mother’s milk and onto the properly prepared and served puppy food. If you breed small puppies, the cost of the puppy food will be acceptably modest, but if you breed medium to large puppies, the cost of the food can quickly become appreciable.
• Once the puppies reach about six weeks of age, they are going to be into every kind of trouble imaginable. They will need space – the amount of space they need depends on their size and their breed. This space needs to be “puppy proof.” No electrical wires, no toxins, no furniture, no curtains, and so forth.
• At six weeks the puppies will need things to chew – enough to go around.
• Before you breed your female, you will need to find a suitable male. This is really, really tough for someone not in the business of breeding dogs. If you decide to pay for a top stud with a superb pedigree, then you will pay dearly for it. If you breed to your neighbor’s dog, simply because he has AKC papers, then you will not be able to ask much for the puppies. If your female does not have an excellent pedigree and/or has not won awards for conformation or training, your puppy price will also be diminished.
• Nobody is going to stroll up to your door and ask if you have puppies for sale. You will need to advertise. This takes time and costs money. Then you will have to answer the calls and emails about the puppies. You will also have to show the puppies – when it’s convenient for the potential buyer.
• If you have kids, the day the puppies start to leave the house will be a day you’ll never forget. Your kids will have already named all the puppies – and have their favorites. You will also have become very attached to the puppies, and watching them leave will likely disturb you more than you think.
There are indeed many things to consider before breeding your dog. I have only touched on a few of the most noteworthy and overlooked. If you sit down and mentally go through the individual steps that will be required over the 4-5 month long adventure, more considerations will no doubt make themselves known to you.
Even professional dog breeders will tell you that breeding a dog is predominately a labor of love. It takes a lot to have a successful breeding, and the profits are minimal at best. Before breeding your dog, please consider all of the elements involved. You owe that to yourself – and to your loving, loyal companion.