Spaying and neutering shouldn’t be a point of contention. I’m tired of arguing about it. Without exception, the act of breeding your pet does not affect only you. It is not just “your life” we are talking about. I’m not trying to live “your life” and dictate your choices. I am trying to educate you to make a better choice. I will not apologize or candy coat it. In the end if you choose to do this, it’s on you. It’s on you to make sure you did it right, that you know your pets are healthy, that you aren’t selling a dog to someone that is going to take it to a shelter in three weeks, or worse that hasn’t been vaccinated for parvovirus and will die three days after it’s new owner brings it home. It’s on you.
Here’s why breeding your dog, or cat, is something you need to consider as more than just a here and now thing. Here’s why your arguments that you want to breed your pet so you should are invalid.
1. It’s not just about you. – It involves your pet, the other person and their pet, the puppies and kittens, all the people who purchase the puppies and kittens, your veterinarian and their staff(hopefully), and the rescue people who will probably care for at least one of the offspring, and most likely, some of the offspring’s offsprings. It is not just about you. If you produce 8 puppies or kittens, the fate of those 8 are a result of your decisions. What happens after they leave your home is a result of your decision. If they end up euthanized, it’s a result of your decision. Done.
2. Your pet doesn’t need to have babies – There is no need for a pet to reproduce. It doesn’t make them better, happier, or healthier. It doesn’t make you better, healthier, or happier either, and if you do it right, it won’t make you richer. If you’re not doing it right, you shouldn’t be doing it all. Your pet, male or female, will be a better pet if you get them fixed. They don’t have the biological imperative to search out a mate, they don’t pee everywhere, and they don’t have heat cycles. You don’t need to deal with the mood changes brought on by hormone surges. Spaying and neutering at a young age reduces the chances of uterine, mammary, and testicular cancers immensely. Without a second thought in my head, the most important point of why your pet doesn’t need to have babies, is because there are babies, and older pets, mutts, mixes, purebreds, and show dogs, all dying in shelters all over the country on a daily basis. We don’t need more puppies or kittens, we need more homes for the ones that are already here.
3. If we don’t breed pets, they will go extinct. – OH Please. There will always be pets. The decision to not breed your pet doesn’t preclude others from not breeding theirs. The breeding of pets should be left to people who do their best to ensure they are breeding healthy, sound, and happy animals. I don’t even include pedigreed here, because while it is a way of ensuring a breed standard and keeping records, it’s not a guarantee of health. We will never run out of pets, even if you don’t breed yours.
4. You aren’t going to clone your pet with a puppy/kitten – Animals are individuals, shaped by the environment and their genetics. You can breed your female to a male just like her and you probably will get something that looks like her or him, maybe even down to little markings, but you aren’t going to get a mini-me. Don’t breed your pet because you think that you can recreate him or her in a puppy or kitten. It won’t happen. Not even in a test tube.
These are the reasons I have for you. Think about them carefully. Think also about how much it will cost to go about breeding your pet with care rather than abandon.
Let me break down some expense points for a typical purebred dog breeding:
- The cost of your dog
- The cost of feeding your dog until breeding age (roughly 1.5 -2 years old), during gestation, and afterwards
- The cost of buying sanitary napkins for a female dog (three times, if you wait until 1.5 years)
- The cost of removing urine stains for an intact male dog who has marked your house, or the cost to retrieve him from the pound after he escapes in search of female)
- Initial and yearly veterinary visits and vaccinations
- the cost of registration for registered pets (Lets talk AKC here… UKC, CKC, not valid in most breeders eyes)
- The cost for pre-breeding exams (Eyes, HIPS, Elbows, vWD, cardiac testing)
- The costs to show and title your pet in any arena proving their conformation and abilities. Working Dog trials for gun dog breeds, herding dogs, working dogs.
- The breeding fees (stud and dam fees)
- The cost of veterinary care during gestation. Usually includes an XRAY or Sonagraphy.
- The cost of Veterinary Care if something goes wrong, think C-Section. Think hundreds of dollars.
- The cost of having the puppies vetted after birth (Everything times the number of puppies)
- The cost of extended amounts of time and puppy formula when the dam doesn’t like her babies.
- Finally, the cost of taking any puppy back that “didn’t work out” or “got sick” or “has bad hips”. How do you find homes for those?
If you are going to breed your dog, even if it isn’t purebred, there are things to think about. If you are going to breed your cat, it’s not much different, except, when all those people who said they wanted a kitten decide they don’t, you’ll find yourself the proud cat parent of 6 kittens and a Momma, for months, and months, and many veterinary bills.
I can’t argue with people who have decided to do something, but I can make my point to those of you on the fence. I would like for you to consider all these things before you decide to breed your pet. I would like you to walk through any shelter in the country, to look on Petfinder.com, at allll the once cute puppies and kittens, and then I would like for you to decide no, I don’t need to breed him/her. But if I haven’t convinced you, if you still must do it, or if you’ve accidentally done it, there is hope. Please care for your pet and it’s babies in a responsible fashion. Don’t give them to people who can’t care for them, don’t dump them in the street/river/road, and ensure that whatever you do, it’s done to the best of your abilities, so that, in the end, that puppy or kitten doesn’t dies in the euthanasia room of a shelter somewhere like so many already have and so many more will.