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Responsible Dog BreedingPosted Tuesday, August 26, 2008, at 9:33 PM
Sure. Who hasn't thought, "We'll let her have just one litter." It's that first litter and well every litter that's unpredictable. Things could go easy and the puppies could come out without any problems. But there are so many things that could go wrong, so many things you need to know about. And all those things that go wrong could be expensive.
Before you even consider letting her get bred, you need to think about what you're gonna do with the puppies after they are weaned. We all love playing with those little bundles of fuz, but they grow up. There is no such thing as a free puppy. If you have a mixed breed dog, you can't expect to make a profit from the puppies or even break even.
First Thing You need to know how to help mom be healthy while she's pregnant. That first heat cycle is definitely not the best time to make your dog a mom. Wait until she's had 2 heat cycles so she has reached maturity. At her first and second heat, her hips haven't spread out enough to be able to pass the pups easily through the birth canal.
Moms really ought to have their vaccines current and if not caught up to date before becoming pregnant. These are the same concerns for human moms as well. Any high fever, dehydration or illness could cause the pups to die and be aborted. You need to know what to feed, what medications to avoid and what to watch out for when problems arise. There is also a disease called canine brucellosis that can cause dead pups. When she has brucellosis you may not see any symptoms with mom but not all the puppies are born alive. Brucellosis can be carried by the male dog without any symptoms as well.
Dogs and cats have a Y shaped uterus and breech puppies are a common occurrence. Breech puppies are backwards or upside-down or across the bottom of the Y. Once the pups are born, she may have more puppies than she can care for (this is where the importance of good quality food and especially puppy food comes in, the more pups she has to carry, the more calories she needs and the more calcium she needs. She can also stop labor due to fatigue and is caused by large litters, where she doesn't have enough calories to continue or low electrolytes for muscle contraction. Some dogs will even twist their uterus, which makes it impossible to pass a pup naturally. At this point a cesarean section is possible, which requires intensive care such as IV fluids, antibiotics, and trained anesthesia monitoring. Labor can happen at anytime of the day or night. I've been called to many early morning c-sections and still have to show up for work the next morning.
Next Thing If you've succeeded at getting the pups born then comes lots more work. First time mom's don't always have that mothering instinct for that first week if ever. Sometimes you'll have a sick pup or mom develops an infection either from that c-section or from mastitits (infected mammary glands) meaning you may be up every 2 hours feeding newborns. Even if she doesn't have an infection but has too many pups, 8 teats doesn't feed 10 pups very well, meaning you'll need to supplement feed the pups.
These pups need socialize to people and other dogs but you want to make sure that you don't expose them to contagious disease before they have an adequate immune system (the means to fight infection).
So you think you've got it all figure out? Try again. You'll need to deworm the pups at 4 weeks. Puppies are worm magnets and worms make you spend more on food. Puppy vaccines need to start between 5-6 weeks when the short term immunity they received from begins to wear off. Keep in mind, one vaccine does not protect from diseases. They need a series of 3, 3 weeks apart. If you're a responsible dog owner, you'll have any hernias repaired before they find a new home.
You'll want to make sure you don't pass on any genetic abnormalities like hip dysplasia, heart murmurs, inguinal or umbilical (naval) hernia's, poor conformation (bad knees etc) or.
Even intact female dogs can have aggressive issues. If you get them spayed before their first heat cycle, you greatly reduce their chances of breast cancer, uterine infections and the chance of aggressive issues. You'll also help reduce the number of stray or unwanted dogs. (Girls are spayed, Neutered works for either boys or girls).
Have Your Pet Spayed Or Neutered
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