Making the decision to breed your canine friend is not a decision to take lightly. There are many steps to take to ensure your dog produces healthy offspring. Shelters are crowed with dogs all across the country and therefore unwanted dogs are euthanized daily. So when making the decision to breed your dog, please ensure you are doing it for the right reasons.
It is recommended that each dog used for breeding is OFA tested. OFA stands for Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, but tests for more than just orthopedic stuff. The most common tests done are checking for hip and elbow dysplasia. In addition, many breeds should be checked for patellar luxation and cardiac disease. An eye exam by a boarded Ophthalmologist is recommended as well. All the requirements for each breed can be found at www.ofa.org. Animals cannot be tested for these conditions until they are 2 years of age. Therefore, it is recommended to wait to breed until they reach that age.
Behavior and allergies are also things to watch for. While behavior and personality aren’t necessary genetic, we can have a pretty good idea how the offspring will behave as adults based on their parents. Allergies on the other hand can be genetic. Symptoms of allergies usually don’t appear until around 2 years of age, so this is another reason it’s recommended to wait to breed until this age.
Female dogs usually go into heat every 6 months or so. Their heat cycle lasts 12-19 days, but they are only fertile for 5-7 of those days. If you plan to breed your dog, there is a short window to do so.
There are risks involved with caring for a pregnant dog. Owners need to pay close attention to the dog’s diet, and caloric intake as these change the further she gets into her pregnancy and then change again once puppies are born. There can be complications with birth, which is called dystocia. During these complications, veterinary care needs to be sought immediately for the safety of momma dog and the puppies.
Reputable breeders should have the puppies examined by a veterinarian and shots administered by that veterinarian before allowing the puppies to go to their forever home. This way owners can be assured the puppy is in good health and vaccines were administered correctly.
A lot of breeders are not in it for the money. As you can tell, breeders likely don’t pocket much money after taking care of the mom and babies. Most breeders do it for the sake of bettering their specific breed and ensuring good bloodlines continue on. While seeing puppies being born and watching them grow is an amazing experience, it shouldn’t be planned without serious thought. There are many purebreds in shelters around the world, along with many mixed breeds that would make an equally great companion.
If you don’t have plans to breed, it is recommended to have your pet spayed or neutered. This sterilization surgery can help decrease the risks of things like mammary cancer and pyometra in females, along with prostate cancer and perianal hernias in males.
Consider checking out local shelters and rescue groups when you’re on the hunt for a new furry friend!
Kylee Ganyo, LVT
Kampschmidt, Kit. “Estrous Cycle.” Powered By VIN, 2006, www.vin.com/Members/Associate/Associate.plx?from=GetDzInfo&DiseaseId=2803.
“Companion Animal Research Center.” Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), www.ofa.org/.