If you have the cutest, most fun loving dog in the world and have decided that you might want to breed him or her, then this article is for you. Dog breeding may seem simple enough, but there is a lot more to it than what meets the eye. If you are considering breeding your dog, then you need to learn more about how to do it safely and legally for that matter. Many states have regulations regarding dog breeding, and it is important to be aware of these regulations. Here you will find a lot of great information on dog breeding, and how to do it the RIGHT way!
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One of the first things that you will need to do before breeding your pup is preparing yourself.
Before you start breeding, you need to get a great deal of knowledge about it. Responsible breeders will take the time to learn as much as they can about the breed that they are working with, and will also focus on learning more about the health and safety involved with breeding. Breeding is not always about increasing the number of the breed, but more about improving the breed. Start out by studying about your breed. Read as much as you can and try to increase your knowledge and understanding of the breed.
You can never know too much about the breed as a breeder.
Understanding the Commitment
When you take on breeding, you are essentially taking on a full time job. Taking care of puppies can take its toll on you. For the first few weeks, the mother dog will typically take care of the puppies herself. The problem is that you never know when complications may arise. If milk production is low, or if the mother abandons the litter, then you will be responsible for caring for them day in and day out.
You need to be prepared for this. Having a litter of puppies is also a financial commitment. For instance, you will need to make sure that you are getting proper health tests, immunizations, and care for your pups. This can be costly.
Important Health Checks
We already talked a bit about the important health checks that you need to have done prior to breeding, but let’s learn more about the purpose of these tests. In order for you to produce the best possible litter of puppies, your dog needs to be in tip-top health. That means that you need to see to it that he or she has proper veterinary care, genetic screening, good nutrition, adequate activity levels, and also do a few pre-breeding tests.
There are also certain diseases that need to be ruled out before you breed, specifically brucellosis, which is a disease that affects the reproductive system in dogs. There is a simple test that can be done to rule this out.
Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy
To ensure a healthy pregnancy, you will need to make sure that you give her adequate nutrients. She needs to start out her pregnancy with her typical caloric intake. As she gains weight, you will then increase her food intake. By the time she has the puppies, she may even be eating around 30-50% more food than she did pre-pregnancy.
To really ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery, you may want to schedule a veterinary visit. They will be able to do tests to ensure that everything is going smoothly, and they can also do an ultrasound to let you know how many puppies you can expect from the litter! Don’t bank on this number though, because the ultrasounds are not always the most accurate. Sometimes a puppy may be hiding and might get missed.
Preparing for Whelping
When a pregnant dog goes into ‘labor’ as we would call it, it is known as whelping.
There are a few things that you can do to prepare for this. First, you will need to prepare a whelping box. This is where you will want your dog to have the puppies, but let’s just be honest, it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes, your dog will just have them where she is comfortable. If you want your dog to use the whelping box, you need to get her used to it well in advance.
It is best to use a comfortable box that will be able to be a warm, dry area that is secluded. This will offer her the most privacy and comfort, and she may be more likely to use the box rather than your furniture.
Caring for the Puppies
Next comes caring for the puppies. As we stated earlier, your dog will likely take care of them for the most part. If she abandons them or stops feeding them for some other reason, then you will need to take up the responsibility. Make sure that they stay warm, fed and cleaned. If you don’t know how much of what to feed them, talk to your veterinarian. It will depend greatly based upon their breed.
When Should You Wean?
Responsible breeders will always wait until about 5-6 weeks of age before introducing solid foods. Weaning is a process. First, you will slowly introduce foods while they are still nursing. By eight weeks of age, they should be completely off of the mother’s milk and eating a well balanced puppy food that is designed for growth and development.
You Can Be Selective
Not only can you be selective as to who buys your puppies, but you should be. Many breeders will actually do background checks to make sure that their pups are not going to someone that has a history of violence. Dog fighting is becoming more and more prominent these days, and you can never be too careful. You should take the time to screen and evaluate everyone that is interested in getting a puppy from your litter. You don’t need to just take their word for it that they will provide a ‘good home’.
Breeding a dog is not the easiest thing in the world. The more you know about breeding, the safer the experience will be for everyone. Don’t just jump straight in without first taking the time to make sure that you understand the ins and outs of it.