Dog Breeding Do’s and Don’ts

The pandemic has forced a lot of people to find ways how to keep their minds off the virus for them to keep their sanity as well as find sustainable means of earning to meet the needs of their families. The lockdowns implemented by the government immobilized the people to such an extent that some individuals developed mental distress. It was truly one of the devastating times of our lives. However, we don’t need to seclude ourselves and feel pity about the situation. Hence, most people have sought out different activities to work on to keep their minds busy and at the same time become productive.

People started growing their gardens. But this time, they are not just flowering plants but also took the liberty to plant vegetables which is helpful not only in saving every penny, but having it as an alternative, or probably an increased intake of nutritious food to keep each one healthy to prevent from being sick, thus strengthening their immune system together with doing regular exercise and taking supplements to achieve a healthier body. While some kept themselves busy with these, others found interest in taking care of pets. There had been an increasing number of pet owners almost everywhere in the world. And we all know how much these little rascals can be so adorable and make us happy. They also take our minds off worrying about what has been going on. Some of these loving furparents have seen an excellent opportunity from these four-legged angels through breeding. Breeding dogs is not something new. There are well-known breeders of specific dog breeds in every country. It is sad, though, that some people have shown interest in dog breeding but are merely focused on the financial aspect of breeding.

True enough, when you breed dogs, it means that you can earn from them when you sell them to interested buyers.  Some dog lovers may frown upon the thought as they would emphasize checking out dog pounds and seeking the ones that are ready for adoption instead of buying from breeders. Thinking about how many dogs are cramped inside dog pounds, some of them rescued from abusive dog owners and some abandoned, people should help the government in taking care of these dogs. However, there is always the option to buy a dog you have in mind, with the specifics which may be offered by a dog breeder. It is anyone’s freedom to choose how they would want to acquire their pets. The only bottom line is to become a responsible dog owner.

As people have remained staying longer hours at home, dog breeding has become a welcomed idea by some. This article is dedicated to those who plan to breed their dogs and hopefully be their guide in becoming successful with their new endeavor.

The Don’ts

Here are some ways that a new dog breeder should avoid doing:

1. First and foremost, never attempt to breed unhealthy dogs. A responsible dog owner would only want to raise healthy, happy puppies. And letting an unhealthy dog reproduce will only increase the risk of either having still-born puppies or passing on the health condition of the unhealthy parent dog to the puppies. If you are a French Bulldog owner, you know that there are Merle-colored French Bulldogs. Unfortunately, these are not recognized by the American Kennel Club because they say that these dogs are less likely to live longer and are born with a lot of health issues. But, being a French Bulldog owner, I also have merle ones which have been healthy ever since they were born. How the merle-colored French bulldogs came around, would be in one of our future articles. One tip in breeding Merle French Bulldogs, though. Never breed two merle French Bulldogs together. It is important to note that a Merle French Bulldog should only be bred to a dog of solid coat color. It is said that it can increase the chances of developing more serious health conditions and is considered to be a “genetic disaster”.

Shiloh, Lilac Tan Merle French Bulldog at 1 year and 2 months.

2. Never breed a dam (female dog) that has not fully matured. Indeed, a female dog can have its first proestrus stage at one year old. The proestrus stage is the first stage of the canine estrus cycle wherein a female dog will bleed (like menstruation in women) that lasts from 7 days to 10 days. A one-year-old dog may look mature. However, it can be too early for it to bear puppies. Why? Based on my own experience in breeding, a young mother dog tends to ignore the puppies since she is not that prepared to take care of them. Playing may be still in the young adult dog’s mind, and so, instead of whelping the puppies, the mother dog would never want to lay on her side and feed the puppies. When this happens, the puppies will lack the nutrition that they need, particularly the colostrum, which is the most important nutrient that puppies need to build their immune system.

What happens when puppies are not fed by their mother? Puppies can die unless their owners would feed them with dog milk which can be bought from pet stores. Puppy survival, especially those breeds with snub noses can be difficult. It is a lot of work until the puppies can eat solid food (dog food) on their own.

3. Never attempt to substitute dog’s milk with human-grade milk. Some dog breeders I know give their puppies the same kind of milk that they give to their children. But, I do think that this is not the right way of giving the amount of calcium that the puppies need as they grow up. Dogs are lactose intolerant. Hence, they should only be fed with a dog’s milk line Royal Canin Baby Dog’s milk, Royal Canin Protech Colostrum + Milk, or Cosi Pet’s Milk. There are other dog milk brands, but these are what I have tried. If these are not available, it is safer to give lactose-free human milk and not the full cream or fortified milk. Non-lactose-free milk can make a puppy’s tummy upset. And you wouldn’t want that to happen.

4. Newborn puppies need heat, thus their (rectal) temperature should be between 95° and 99°F. If the temperature drops even one degree, the puppy can suffer hypothermia. Hypothermia is a medical emergency wherein the body loses heat faster than it can produce heat. A puppy can live if it skips one feeding, but an hour of exposure to cold can lead to death. Always prepare a lamp with a 25 watts incandescent bulb, NOT an LED bulb. Why not LED when it is more cost-efficient? It is because LED lights do not produce any heat compared with incandescent bulbs. I didn’t know the difference back when I was starting to breed. But, now, I always have a few bulbs stocked at home.

5. Never overfeed your puppies. You may be thinking of feeding your puppies often so they can grow faster. Well, it’s a no-no. Puppies have weak digestion and can only take so much. They are usually fed every 2 hours (hence, I get to have lesser sleep when I have new puppies). But, again, from my experience, I no longer follow this, because puppies react differently. Some tend to get hungry more easily than others and that is probably because of the amount of milk that they have taken in. But leaving the puppies with their mother for at least 15-20 minutes is sufficient enough for the next feeding which can be after 3 hours. Remember that it is safer for the puppies to be a bit late for their next feeding that be overfed which would make them vomit or even worse, develop aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia is a condition wherein the milk is taken in by the puppy is accidentally directed into the lungs instead of going to the stomach. This is one of the common causes of neonatal puppy deaths.

6. Never attempt to administer the vaccines or deworm the puppies by yourselves. I understand that it could be costly to seek a veterinarian’s service. But if you plan to make a good reputation in the dog world, you might as well not be stingy when it comes to prioritizing the health of your puppies. I have read a lot of articles regarding how early and how often should puppies be vaccinated and dewormed before they are released to their new owners. I do think that the guide shared online works for most dog breeders. However, you also need to consider the health status of your puppies before giving them vaccines and deworming medicine. Some puppies may not be as healthy as others. Therefore, giving them deworming medicine at two weeks old and having frail health could only be fatal. Again, from my experience, we thought that it was just easy to give the puppies these deworming medicine at two weeks old. But, since we were not fully aware of how much should be given, the puppy’s initial reaction was to cough it out. It was the runt of the litter. Unfortunately, the puppy died a day after. One important lesson learned there! From then on, we never attempted to do it again. What’re a few dollars in paying for the service of a professional when it would mean the safety of the entire litter, right?

The Do’s

1. Make sure that your dogs to be bred are vaccinated and dewormed accordingly. Also, do check for ticks and mites to ensure that they are free from these parasites to ensure healthy breeding. Sometimes, dog owners overlooked these which can affect the puppies.

2. Do give nutritious food to your dogs. Choose high-quality dog food. The best-recommended dog food for dams is puppy dog food since they have high-protein content. You may also give your dog fruits like:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cranberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Mango
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon

Along with these, always remember to give them a fresh bowl of water, milk, and vitamins.

3. Before breeding your female dog, bathe them. Although there had been no proven facts that bathing a female dog after mating can lead to something catastrophic in terms of the health of the puppies, we give our dams a good bath before mating and then wipe them with a clean, moist cloth at least twice a day until the dam gives birth. If your dog is having fun when given a bath then it’s okay to do it. However, if it is a stressful time every time you bathe your dam, then you might just want to wait until she gives birth, but ensure that you clean the dam often and make her comfortable as much as possible, especially during summer when dogs can be panting due to high temperature.

4. Do feed the mother dog every after whelping the puppies. This allows her to produce more milk which the puppies need especially if the litter is more than 6 puppies. What we do is apart from the high-protein dog food, which sometimes, the dam would not want to eat, I give them boiled chicken breast and liver and a glass of milk with dried moringa leaves (or tablets) which helps in increasing milk production. Some dams would only whelp until 2 weeks since the baby teeth start to grow and it can be painful when the puppies suck the nipples especially if the milk is not as much as before. I have noticed, with our dams, even when the puppies turn a month old, the dams still produce milk.

5. Do give the mother a little exercise. We treat our dams as if they are like a pregnant woman. Regular short work and light playtime are ideal. Avoid giving strenuous activities such as catching a ball or running. They should avoid being stressed. Let them feel lethargic since just like a pregnant woman, a dam tends to sleep more which is a good sign.

6. Prepare the needs of both dam and puppies before the puppies are delivered. Normally, puppies are born between the 57th to 63rd day after the last stud. This gives the dog owner ample time to prepare everything that the dam and puppies will need after birth.

  • Whelping box
  • Rags
  • Training pad
  • Lamp
  • Thermometer
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Cotton balls/ Cotton buds
  • Betadine
  • Alcohol
  • Puppy Booster Gel (ask your veterinarian about it)
  • Vitamins, Antibiotic, and Pain reliever for the dam

7. You have the option to help the dam give birth naturally or to seek a veterinarian’s help. Either way, on the 53rd day, do check if there are changes in the behavior of the dam. She may be eating less or a thick liquid may be coming out of her vulva (which is a normal sign of being pregnant). As the day progresses, the dam would be preparing for her puppies to come. You would notice that she will be scratching her bed. If you see her licking her vulva, getting restless, and notice if her stomach is contracting. PUPPIES ARE SOON ON THEIR WAY!

Just last week, our pug gave birth at home. Usually, we take our dams a few days before the due date. But we decided to let her stay a little longer since she was still eating normally. Dams who are about to give birth usually eat less to almost not eating when she is about to pop. With Millie, she still had a hefty appetite the night before. My husband and I were surprised to see one puppy inside Millie’s crate at past 5:00 A.M. She was licking her pup. We hurriedly cut the cord and tied it with a thread to stop the bleeding. Wiped the puppy dry and laid it under the lamp (at least 12-15 inches away). It was a waiting game. Finally, at 12nn, she had 5 healthy puppies – one Female and 4 Males. They are still yet to be named.

                                                       Pug puppies at 5 days old
Pug puppies at 5 days old

Leave a Comment