SAFE SEX AND YOUR PETS
Tam Cordingley, CSI Instructor, SAAB Member
There are as many myths about sex for pets as there are about sex for people.
Let's have a frank discussion about breeding your dog or having a litter of puppies.
1) Every female should have one litter before being spayed.
There is no reason, physically or temperamentally to breed any female except improvement of the breed. If spayed, she is less likely to develop mammary cancer, surely won’t develop uterine cancer, and won’t suffer whelping risks.
2) I want the kids to see the miracle of birth.
It teaches kids that life is unimportant. Every puppy born is the ultimate responsibility of the breeder as long as that dog is alive. That means if the puppies aren’t all placed by the time they are 8-10 weeks old, you deal with it. You don’t take them to the shelter for someone else to have to place or destroy. You don’t give them away in front of the supermarket – you don’t let them loose in the country and hope they find homes before they starve, get hit on the road, or die of disease. You feed, vaccinate, clean up after, socialize and love them until good, permanent homes are found. If they need to be relocated a year later – you deal with it. Every litter born means a 10+year commitment. Let the kids watch a video on whelping while you have your nice pet female spayed.
3) I want my male to be a daddy, it will settle him down.
A neutered (castrated) male is happy. He is not at the mercy of raging hormones. He is not at risk of escaping when tempted by neighborhood females. He will never get testicular cancer. He will be less likely to indulge in marking pattern wetting. Unless he is such an outstanding example of his breed that, after proving his excellence in the show or performance arenas, it would be necessary to use him, he is much better off neutered. A pet dog should be just that, a pet. He or she does not require reproductive organs to be a pet.
4) My dog was expensive. I want to earn back his/her cost.
It cost money to properly raise a litter. Vet fees, breeding fees, food, advertising – all cost money. You might break even if every pup sold at eight weeks, but the ones that run on to 4, 5 or 6 months are very expensive. Plus, they destroy your yard unless you are really prepared for multiple dogs.
5) My aunt (uncle, best friend) wants one of Fluffy’s pups.
Very seldom will Fluffy have only one puppy, and that of the desired color and sex. Refer to #2 for questions about the rest of Fluffy’s litter! There are also sexually transmitted diseases between dogs. Hip X-rays, eye checks, blood checks.
Breeding dogs in today’s world is best left to the professionals. Ethically and financially it is better to spay or neuter your pet. You’ll both be better off!
reprinted with permission, Valley Pet News, Sacramento CA @ 1991