**WHY would you want to even consider breeding your pet?**
Are you entering into one of the various showing arenas? Conformation, obedience or agility? If not, is this merely an attempt to bring in extra income? How will the breeding you're thinking of doing improve the breed? What faults are you trying to correct on your current dogs?
Although you are looking to breed a litter in the future, are you aware of all the things you need to do in order to ensure you have a healthy litter?
1. The bitch you use to breed (be it yours or someone else's) needs to be screened to see that she carries no infections. Some infections will render a male STERILE, and potentially shorten their life span. The average costs for these necessary tests run in the $85 to $120 range.
2. IF the breeding is successful, you will need to provide supplements to the normal dog food. This includes extra vitamins and calcium to have a healthy litter. Anticipate spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 a month from about 30 days after the first breeding until the pups are 12 weeks of age (about 4 months).
3. Vet visits for the pups and the mother after they are all born are essential. The vet will give the bitch a shot to ensure that none of the placentas were retained which could cause infection to the mother and through the milk, infection to the pups as well. The vet will also set up the series of shots for the litter (usually a series of 3 shots over several weeks). Now most vets are beginning to have what they call "litter series" and do it at a reduced rate, usually around $75 per shot. The Pitosin shot given to the bitch is about $35 to $40.
4. IF the worst case occurs, be prepared to have a "C" section on the bitch to save both her and the pups. This surgery usually runs between $350 and $500, and might be more depending on emergency situations and vet availability at 3:00 a.m.
5. The above is not meant to scare you, it's many of the things that need to occur to have healthy dogs. It does not, however, mention the various genetic problems occurring in shelties. Do either of the parents come from lines with PRA? That's an eye problem that can eventually render a dog blind. Additionally, we have a skin problem in some lines that mimics skin mites but to date cannot be detected by testing. It causes hair loss and breaks down the quality of the muscles in the dog. Because of these problems, many responsible breeders have done extensive research to try to eliminate the possibility of the skin issue. Those same individuals offer a "written guarantee" that will include full refund or replacement of the dog even after the dog is several years old. Are you willing to do the same? With today's laws and suit-happy society, many breeders (just about every breed) have been sued or threatened with suits.
These are things you must be made aware of BEFORE you seriously consider breeding your dog(s).
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