Birds & Bees
ALL CREATURES ANIMAL CLINIC, LTD.
Mark Hale, DVM
The Birds and the Bees: Facts about Breeding Your Pet
There are many pros and cons for breeding your pet dog or cat. Many factors play an important role in determining the correct answer to the question "Should I breed my beloved companion or should I have him/her sterilized?" These questions should be carefully considered before a mating is planned or allowed.
DO YOU HAVE THE TIME AND RESOURCES TO CARE FOR THE OFFSPRING? Doing a proper job of caring for the parents before breeding as well as during the pregnancy, whelping, and nursing periods can be time-consuming as well as financially burdensome. Proper preventive care should always be done during these three periods so that the health of all involved is as good as possible. A thorough physical exam can identify potential problems that your pet might encounter or pass on to its offspring. Some common problems such as hookworms or anemia can be addressed and corrected before the pregnancy begins and becomes a life threatening crisis for the mother or her offspring later. Certain genetic problems (such as hip dysplasia) that may be common for the particular breed can be tested for, as these should not be passed on. Management and nutrition should also be addressed at this time so that the birthing process can go as smoothly as possible. If necessary, emergency care such as C-sections can be planned.
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THE PUPPIES OR KITTENS? After the babies are weaned, good homes must be found for them. Animal shelters are overrun with pets needing good homes, so unless there is good reason to breed your pet then it should not be done. If managed properly, purebred puppies can often be sold but registration papers, vaccination/ healthcare records, and proper licenses for your facility may be necessary for their sale. Oftentimes, any profit from the sale of the puppies is negligible after all the costs (both time and monetary) are accounted for.
ON THE OTHER HAND, HAVING A LITTER OF WANTED PUPPIES OR KITTENS CAN BE A FUN AND REWARDING EXPERIENCE. Watching them quickly grow and mature is a wonderful thing to see. If breeding your pet is something that you are considering please think about all the pros and cons of it. Careful consideration and planning can make the process much more rewarding as well as safer for your pet and its offspring.
ONE FINAL THING which I cannot stress enough is that if breeding is not something that is appropriate for you or your pet, please have your pet spayed or neutered as soon as it turns four months old. Unwanted or unplanned pregnancies are much too common. The most common reason for an unwanted pregnancy is that "I just haven't gotten around to it". Spaying or neutering also lessens or eliminates certain behavioral and health issues later in life.