You are rarely at home


If you are often away from home and cannot, or do not, want to change your agenda during whelping then you should not have a litter! Your bitch will need you close by, especially for her first litter. As humans we are given all the information and advice about pregnancies and giving birth that we might need, but your dog will have no idea what is happening to her. After feeling peculiar for several weeks she is suddenly in great pain and sees something come out of her body. Instinct should kick in, but it is not uncommon for a bitch to panic, causing complications that can be drastic. You have the duty to be present in case this happens.


Your bitch has not had the necessary health checks


If you are planning a litter but your bitch (and maybe the male you will be using on her also) has not had certain health checks, how can you be sure she is free of inheritable conditions she is likely to transmit to her puppies, causing them to suffer from debilitating disorders as they grow up? Labradors, for example, should be checked for hip dysplasia, cataract, PRA… and the list goes on. Giving life is a tremendously emotional experience, as well as being physically exhausting. Feeding her puppies will cause your dog to lose weight, especially if she gives birth to a large number. Her normal ration multiplied by four will not necessarily be sufficient to keep her and her puppies fit. She will need large quantities of high quality food during several months. It is considered that a bitch should not have more than one litter every two years, which is already a lot. Having a litter is taxing and having several in a row can seriously lower your dog's life expectancy.


Your dog is too young


IIt is almost a crime to breed from your dog if she is no more than a year old, as the risk of her dying is high. Just as a brief anecdote, two of my own dogs were saved from an endangered litter. Their mother was only a year old, if that. Believing it to be just as efficient for dogs, her owner gave her the pill. The dog was mounted by a male and had 8 puppies, which is enormous for a first litter and extremely difficult for such a young mother to cope with as far as weaning is concerned. Not having enough milk to feed them, she 'abandoned' her pups when they were only a month old! She nearly died and had to be given special care to save her!


Too many abandons!


The countless number of abandoned dogs of all types and breeds already roaming the streets should be your main reason for not producing a litter. It's a serious situation we can and must avoid by refraining from putting new puppies "on the market", as some breeders would say. Sadly, too many unscrupulous breeders produce litter after litter from their females as if they are laying hens! They care neither for their dogs' wellbeing, nor for their puppies' future!


You have no intention of keeping the puppies


You want a litter but you do not wish to keep any of the puppies. So why have a litter? Maybe you have a good reason. Perhaps you know someone who wants a puppy from your bitch? OK, that's fine. But what about all the other puppies in the litter? How are you going to find a home for each and every one of them? What are you going to do if you can't sell them? Depending on the breed, finding a compatible family or one willing to adapt itself to the dog they adopt is not as easy as it might seem. There is a big risk you might end up not knowing what to do with the puppies, or some might be returned to you after a few weeks or months – situations that are more common than you might think! So will you give them away? To whom? Opportunists would jump at the offer of a free puppy, but can you be sure your pups will all go to good, caring, loving homes?


You're thinking of making money


How sad! I can see how tempting it is though: you have you have a life between your hands and you can do whatever you want, with no exterior control, not even on the money you would earn. Tons of people unscrupulously breed from their bitch just to earn a few euros. But is this reasonable? Look your bitch in the eyes and ask yourself this question. Think of the puppies being abandoned, ill treated or 'passed on' if you fail to find them a family that understands the character and possible disadvantages of the breed. And now tell me if it's really worth the while for a few euros? It isn't!


You haven't looked into this at all


Something made you want this litter. Ok. But have you made any enquiries to make sure everything will go to plan? Lack of knowledge in this field can cost lives. Even if Nature does things well, it is important to understand what's happening, to understand the precautions to take in order to properly look after the pups and their mother.

If you share my reasoning then please share this article. It could help save lives.