Should I breed from my pet?

Some people do choose to breed from their pets. It’s really important to think about this carefully before you go ahead. It can have a big impact on your pet’s health and you’ll be responsible for the welfare of their litter. There are also thousands of abandoned pets already in shelters and not enough people to give them homes.


What is PDSA’s stance on breeding?

We always recommend getting your pet neutered and would advise against breeding from them.

As a veterinary charity, it isn’t right for us to use our limited resources to support any of our clients who decide to breed their pet. We clearly explain to our clients that if they choose to breed their pet, they’ll need to take their pet to private vet for any treatment relating to the pregnancy or birth.

However, we will always provide life-saving treatment if a pet’s life is in danger because of pregnancy or birth. Once the pet is stable, we’ll refer the pet to a private vet for more treatment.


Why we recommend neutering

Neutering has a lot of health benefits for both male and female pets. It can help to:

  • Protect your pet from certain types of cancer.
  • Stop female pets from developing a deadly womb infection called pyometra.
  • Make male pets less territorial and aggressive.
  • Protect female pets from the hormonal changes and stress of going into ‘heat’.

You can find out more about the benefits of neutering your pet and let our vets debunk some common myths about the procedure.


Why don’t we recommend breeding?

There are a lot of reasons why we wouldn’t recommend breeding from your pet. Breeding doesn’t have any health benefits for your pet – in fact, it could damage their health and put them through unnecessary stress. Pregnancy puts a strain on an animal’s body and can expose them to various risks.

There are a lot of unwanted pets in the UK and thousands of pets are stuck in rehoming centres waiting for a new, loving family. By breeding from your pet, you could be adding to this growing problem.

It’s really important that breeding is done responsibly and with the parents’ and litter’s health and welfare in mind. It’s definitely not something that should be done on a whim or without a lot of research, planning and thought.


What does responsible breeding involve?

A responsible breeder will have weighed up the risk for their pet and will have researched the process properly. They’ll have considered things like:

  • The health of the mother and father. Even if your pet seems healthy, they could be carrying hidden problems that will be passed on to their litter. Responsible breeders will have the health of both parents checked out with a series of tests. If the test show any problems, they won’t breed from that pet.
  • The health of the breed. Some breeds have serious health problems because of the way they’ve been bred to look – e.g. the short snout of a pug or a bulldog can mean they have trouble breathing. A responsible breeder will choose a mother and father that are healthier examples of the breed – e.g. they have a longer snout.
  • Difficulty giving birth. Some breeds have particular difficulty giving birth. Breeds with much larger heads than the mother’s narrow hips usually mean she will have to have surgery just to deliver her pups. Chihuahuas, French bulldogs and Pekingese are just a few of the breeds that could have this problem but complications can arise with any breed.
  • Caring for the litter. A litter of puppies or kittens can be hard work to look after, for your pet and for you. At first, they’ll need a lot of care and attention to check they’re growing as they should and that their living area is clean and hygienic. As they get older they’ll need proper socialisation so they grow up into happy, confident adults. They’ll also need checks from the vet, regular worming and flea treatments, and puppies have to be microchipped by the breeder.
  • Finding a new owner. A responsible breeder will feel a lot of responsibility for finding the right home for the litter. They’ll also usually offer to take in any of the pets they’ve bred if their owner can’t look after them anymore. This is a lifetime commitment.
  • The cost. With all the tests, check-ups and special care, breeding from your pet can be expensive. In fact, a lot of breeders do it because they love the breed so much, not to make money. A responsible breeder will have thought about the costs very carefully and will make sure they have savings to cover any emergency treatment if there’s a problem with the pregnancy or birth. The cost of this treatment can sometimes reach thousands of pounds.

Neutering your pet

Find out more about the health benefits of getting your pet neutered.

Neutering myths

Fact or fiction? Our vets' bust some common myths about neutering to help you make the right choice for your pet.

Vaccinating your pet

Find out how vaccinations save pet's lives and why our vets recommend keeping your pet's jabs up-to-date.

Why vaccinate?