Bringing in a new litter of puppies is an exciting time for any dog owner. It’s also a big responsibility that requires planning, preparation, and patience. The quality of life of the pups can be influenced long before breeding ever takes place. Both of the parents need long-term care so that their offspring turn out healthy and well-adjusted. Many breeders make a big investment in terms of choosing the healthiest dog food, giving the dog comfortable lodgings, and giving them all sorts of supplements. Most dogs that are young and healthy should have few problems, but parents that aren’t ready or have underlying health issues may result in a frustrating and expensive process for the owners.

Keep in mind that even when things go perfectly and both the parents and puppies are healthy, there can still be a large investment in terms of money and time. You will have to think about vet visits, extra food supplies, and vaccinations. The biggest concern, however, is still going to be the health and wellbeing of your dog and whether they are fit to breed. 

Before Breeding

Breeding your dog has its risks, and it is a major life event for any dog. Before you begin on the journey of breeding your dog, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a couple of questions. Is it about continuing your dog’s line? Do you want puppies that look and behave like your dog? Are you going to be selling the puppies? Are you interested in how to become a registered breeder? Being honest in this step can help temper your expectations about the results of the process. It is unlikely that the puppies will look or behave completely as you expect them to, as the interplay of genetics can have unintended results. 

Healthy dogs can be bred successfully with no problems, so long as all the tests and precautions are taken. Careful management of the breeding process is necessary to ensure the best possible results. At the end of the day, breeding your dog depends on your ability to provide for your dog’s needs, and a little bit of luck. 

To see if your dog is fit for breeding, there are a number of health checks that need to happen.

Health Checks

Your chosen veterinarian should be able to give your dog a thorough check to determine whether the dog is fit for breeding. They will take into consideration the dog’s age, breed, and overall health. A trusted vet will be able to make the best recommendation for your dog’s wellbeing. 

Female dogs

A female dog will need to head to the vet for a health check several weeks or a month before the heat cycle when you are planning to have her bred. Her overall health should be good, and she should have complete vaccinations. The dog should be free from parasites and orthopaedic issues. If there are any upcoming vaccinations, they will be given before the dog’s estrous cycle begins. 

Female dogs will need to be examined for any structural abnormalities that could cause problems during the pregnancy and the birth of the pups. Most pre-breeding check ups will involve eye, ear, heart, dental, lung, abdominal, lymph node, genital, and skin check. No medications or supplements should be given to the dog unless under the guidance and approval of your veterinarian. Even non-medical supplements may cause problems with the pregnancy and birth defects in the puppies. The dog should be on a high-quality diet of puppy food before breeding. The dog’s weight will have to be managed carefully, as being over or underweight can place unnecessary stress on them. 

Male dogs

Male dogs will need to go through the same basic procedures as female dogs. Your vet will ensure that your dog is healthy and is at the proper weight for breeding. The dog should also have proper parasite control and be up to date on all current vaccinations. 

Things to Consider When Breeding Your Dog

  1. A female dog should not be bred during their first heat. There is a large amount of stress placed on a dog when they undergo pregnancy. A certain level of maturity is required to take care of a litter of pups. A dog undergoing their first heat may not yet know how to deal with the experience, which can result in maternal behaviour problems. 
  2. Depending on your dog’s breed, there may be certain health conditions that they will need to be tested for before they can breed. Screening for these genetic defects is one of the biggest steps before breeding can begin. Your vet will be able to advise you best about the proper course of action based on the results of these screenings. 
  3. It’s important to be an ethical breeder. Finding a suitable mate for your dog and ensuring that all the puppies are healthy is a big responsibility. Even if you aren’t planning to sell any of the puppies for profit, the quality of life of the puppies depends on the work that you put into the process. Being prepared and doing the tough work beforehand can mean that the puppies have the best start on life.