Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wouldn't it be incredible if everyone was responsible?

My friend is a responsible breeder. She is fully aware about her dogs’ genetic histories, works closely with her veterinarians, and selects compatible males with good temperaments who are genetically healthy. This winter her beautiful Hope delivered seven healthy, strong and adorable puppies. Later that week due to complications, Hope died on the operating table. Hope’s seven puppies were left behind needing tube-feeding every three hours for three weeks. The veterinarian bill was huge, the cost of the powdered puppy milk replacer was over $800 and one of the puppies needed extensive medical care costing over $1,000. It was heartbreaking to lose a three year old dog who was very much a family member, especially under these circumstances. My friend did everything right to create healthy, genetically sound puppies with strong pedigrees.

All puppies are cute. But many grow up with temperament issues and painful and expensive health problems caused by poor breeding practices. Back Yard Breeders create animals without consideration of genetic disease and temperament. Basically, they do nothing to ensure that your puppy is healthy. Puppy Mills are high-volume back-yard breeders operating with unsanitary, crowded and unhealthy environments. Their puppies are often sold through pet stores. Responsible breeders care about the betterment of the breed. They test for genetic disorders and disease and through selective breeding practices produce healthy puppies. They screen and educate future families and take lifetime responsibility for the pets they breed by taking them back at any time.

If you want to become a responsible breeder:

  • Ensure that your dog is a very sound example of its breed according to the standard set for it by the breed parent club in Canada so you create quality puppies that improve the future of the breed. (The only exception is where dogs are bred for a specific purpose - for example, a lineage of service dogs.)
  • Talk with your vet and talk with experienced responsible breeders - not backyard breeders!
  • Understand your dog’s lineage or the health of its parents and grandparents.
  • Spend money to get genetic testing done to make sure that your dog isn’t carrying hip dysplasia, congenital heart disease, congenital deafness, autoimmune thyroiditis or other inherited diseases. Good breeders do not breed dogs with genetic diseases. Your diligence will ensure that your pups won’t go through the pain of a debilitating disease and future pet owners won’t experience heart ache and expense to treat diseases that you could and should have avoided.
  • Save a couple thousand dollars to cover the cost of an emergency caesarean, euthanization or other emergency medical costs for the mom or her puppies.
  • Figure out your work schedule so you can take time off to tube-feed puppies if something happens to the mom.
  • Socialize the puppies so they are well-adjusted and able to deal with the world once they leave your home.

If you’re not ready to do what it takes to be a responsible breeder, don’t breed. Anything less is irresponsible! There are many wonderful shelter dogs already looking for homes. Look into the eyes of the lonely and scared animals in need of homes. Talk with shelter employees who love animals only to have to euthanize them. 171,191 animals entered Canadian shelters in 2007 and half were euthanized!

If only responsible breeders bred their dogs, fewer animals would end up in shelters and rescue organizations.

Please choose to be a responsible breeder or spay and neuter your pet.

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1 comment:

  1. Great article Louise, those puppies look so nice.