There's more to dog breeding than throwing a couple of frisky pups into a kennel and letting nature take its course. Before you decide to breed dogs, consider the following.
Understand the commitment. The American Kennel Club reminds those interested in breeding dogs that it's a full-time job. In addition to finding suitable mates and taking care of pregnant dogs, a funny thing happens after a couple months: Puppies arrive — and not just one. It is the breeder's responsibility to provide a safe, warm environment for the pups and food and water for mom. Once the puppies are weaned, it involves even more work because now you have to feed the puppies. You'll also need to find someone to buy the puppies.
Understand the finances involved. If your primary purpose for breeding dogs is to make money, you may want to reconsider. Although some do make money from it, most do not. When figuring out expenses, take into account genetic screenings and health tests before breeding and the financial burden of taking care of a litter of puppies once they're born. In addition, the time you'll spend taking care of the dogs will encompass a lot of hours you could use pursuing other avenues of income.
Understand the breeding schedule. Humans can breed at will. Dogs cannot, even if they enjoy sniffing each other day and night. The American Kennel Club provides a timeline for preparing a dog for breeding, beginning at four months before mating, through breeding day (an exciting time, no doubt), the 63-day gestation period, the three- to five-week period after birth and finding the puppies a good home.
Understand the birthing process. Most dogs give birth without incident. The mommy dog even removes the puppies' placental membranes, severs the umbilical cords and licks each puppy to stimulate breathing. Just in case, however, a responsible dog breeder knows how to remove the placental membrane or cut the umbilical cord, if the mother neglects to. Other things a breeder must be aware of includes the need for newborn puppies to nurse soon after birth.
Understand you need to find those puppies a home. Unless you wish to care for several additional dogs, you're going to need to find those dogs a good home. If you're breeding dogs for profit (see the finances section above again, if you are), you need to find a good home for each puppy that's willing to pay a considerable sum of money. Careful screening and evaluation of each prospective dog parent is a necessary part of finding each puppy a good home. The American Kennel Club recommends you be fully committed to placing puppies only in homes you believe will provide excellent care.
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