I Think I’d Like to Breed My Dog, and What You Need to Know
People think they’d like to breed their dog for many reasons. Maybe it’s the cutest and smartest dog they’ve ever owned, or they’ve erroneously heard it makes the dog a better pet to have a litter, or they want to show their kids the miracle of birth. Whatever the reason, it’s best to give this huge decision careful thought and get as educated as possible about whether or not to breed your dog.
First, I’d like to give some reasons why you may decide it’s not right for you. Did you know that spaying a dog before her first heat virtually guarantees she won’t get breast cancer? Her risk is less than one percent. After one heat it bumps up to 8%, and after two heats or more it jumps to 26%. So at that point basically 1 in 4 dogs will get mammary cancer. Half the time it’s malignant, and half the time it’s benign. But it still requires surgery and biopsying to know what type your dog has. Spaying also prevents a pyometra (a common life-threatening uterine infection that most often requires emergency surgery). If you decide to breed your dog, you need to set aside funds for a possible c-section. These can run from $1,000-$2,000. We see difficult births several times a month. The miracle of birth is amazing, but sometimes it’s more stressful and costly than you’d expect. The saddest times are when a pup or the mother doesn’t survive the birthing process.
If you decide that breeding your dog is right for you and your family, consider if your pet is right for breeding. Health and temperament should be excellent, since reputable breeders strive to improve their breed, not pass on problems to the next pet and its owners. Health clearances, which can cost several hundreds to several thousands, are the best way to make sure your dog is suitable for breeding. Hip and elbow dysplasia, congenital cataracts and inherited blindness, thyroid problems, heart defects, and bleeding disorders are just some of the genetic problems that can be passed on unknowingly. You’ll want to wait until after age two to breed your dog, because many of these tests can’t be performed until age two or older. Most dogs go into heat every 6 to 9 months, so jot down the start and end of her heat on the calendar to help you plan for future breedings. Most dogs “do it naturally” but sometimes they need help. Dr. Sandoval and Dr. Leautier have been assisting with conception for more than 20 years and 15 years, respectively. We time the breeding with multiple progesterone blood tests, and inseminate via regular artificial insemination or surgical insemination. As you can see, it’s an expensive endeavor and not to be taken lightly. If you have questions, feel free to give us a call.