Before You Breed



Some people think they can make money out of breeding dogs, if they do they are scrimping on basic needs that are necessary in ensuring the puppies and their mother are healthy and in good condition.

Here are some things to think about before breeding a litter:

Before you mate the bitch you will need enough money to pay the stud fee.  (Generally the price of one puppy sale), the possibility of a caesarean section ($1,000 during normal hours, anything up to $5,000 out of hours), any unexpected veterinary expenses caused by problems whelping (depends on the vet and the amount of treatment necessary after hours allow at least$200-$300).  Is your vet on 24 hour call?  Most bitches whelp after midnight.

Has your bitch, as well as the stud dog, had the necessary health screens for hip and elbow dysplasia, eye disease etc. to ensure the puppies they produce are not affected by these common diseases?

Do you realize you will need to provide extra nutrition for the bitch at least 3 weeks prior to and up to 5 weeks after whelping?

Do you have a warm, private and secure area for your bitch to whelp her puppies?

Are you prepared to stay up all night and assist the bitch whelping, changing bedding, cleaning and making sure the puppies are okay?

Can you care for the puppies if the mother rejects them or is unable to feed them due to a lack of milk? Can you afford the time off work and special food, bottles and tubes to feed them every three hours around the clock, not to mention toileting each pup?

Are you prepared for the possibility of some puppies dying despite the care you have taken?  We have lost two entire litters due to no fault of our own.

Could you afford extra veterinary expenses for the bitch or puppies if they had unforseen health problems e.g. injury or contracted virus?

Can you afford the worming suspension the puppies will require at two weeks of age and every two weeks thereafter?

Do you have the money for the extra food as the puppies change to solids?

Are you willing to pick up faeces every few hours when the mother stops cleaning up after the puppies?

Are you prepared to have your sleep disturbed by the puppies whining for food, and howling when they discover their voices around two-three weeks of age?

Are you prepared to apologize to your neighbours for the noise?

Even after weaning puppies need feeding 4 times a day, are you able to make sure they are fed when required?

Do you have the room and facilities to keep up to 8 – 12 adventurous puppies sheltered from the weather and safely penned, up to and possibly beyond 8 weeks of age?

Can you cope with six or more puppies teething and chewing everything in sight?

Can you afford the vaccinations, microchipping, heartworm and flea control the puppies need from six weeks of age?

How will you advertise the puppies? Friends who, in passing, said "gee I'd love one of those dogs" often won't take a puppy after all.

Having prospective buyers come over to look at the pups is a very time consuming exercise. You may spend hours talking to people, only to find that they buy their pup from someone else. Have you the time and patience for this?

Will you be able to offer the health clearances and guarantees buyers expect?

Can you offer prospective buyers a valid pedigree?

Are you prepared to provide new puppy owners with information about the breed and the pups' requirements? Are you knowledgeable enough about the breed to be able to talk to your puppy owners after they have purchased the pup and answer any queries they may have, and or help them deal with any problems that may arise?

What will you do if you don't get enough interested buyers, even when you drop your price?

What would you do if someone sued you for selling them a sick puppy or one with a hereditary disease?

Will you be able to take back and/or rehouse a puppy you have sold if the owners can't keep it anymore?

If you have answered 'No' to any of these questions, THINK AGAIN BEFORE YOU MATE YOUR BITCH.

If you still decide to mate your bitch, take care when using medications during pregnancy.  The following link is invaluable in advising of drugs and medications to use and/or not to use during pregnancy:


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