Should I Breed My Pet?

Karen Laidley, DVM

We all know that our own pets are the best pets, but how do you know if you should breed yours? It’s a question all veterinarians ask: do you plan to breed?  We want you to be well-educated on the whole process, to know what to expect, and we want to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Ditto, Amy’s dog Annie’s pup

First and foremost, is your pet healthy and does he or she have any hereditary diseases?  The biggest reason for breeding is for betterment of the breed.  Each breed comes with its own risks, like hip or elbow dysplasia, ocular defects, patellar luxation, heart problems, allergies, and a slew of other potentially hereditary issues.  On the positive side, many genetic tests have been developed that make screening for such issues easy to do.  Some tests require veterinary certification (radiographs, eye exams, etc.) while others you can do using samples you collect at home and submit to trusted laboratories.  Testing prior to breeding helps to minimize risks of their offspring developing health problems that could be heartbreaking for their future owners.

In addition to health issues, is your pet’s temperament one that should be passed on? Are they fearful?  Aggressive?  Honest questions need to be asked prior to procreation to make sure that we are doing our best to create the healthiest and nicest pets.

Radar, Amy’s dog Annie’s pup

Sounds expensive, right?  It can be! We recommend screening tests based on each breed, some of which require them to be a certain age before they can be certified.  Testing is only part of the process, because then you have to consider costs that will be involved in breeding.  Some pets need recurring blood tests to determine when to breed.  Some breed with “live cover” (letting pets breed naturally), but some require artificial insemination or surgical insemination. And breeding doesn’t guarantee pregnancy.  And if your pet becomes pregnant, are you prepared for possible complications, like having to do a C-section, or infections that can occur?  Rarely, pregnancy complications result in loss of life for offspring and/or the mom.  Are you willing to take those risks, and will you be able to cover the costs involved if complications occur?  Raising offspring until they are ready to go to their new homes can be expensive and will be a lot of work, but the rewards can be immense.  Breeding should never be entered into with any expectation of making a profit, but there can be many rewards.

Freya’s pups, owned and bred by Tasha, Tony, Karma and Ryder Johns

If you’re unsure as to whether or not you want to breed your pet, ask us.  We will always give our honest opinion.  Please don’t breed to “give your kids the experience.” There are many animals that end up in shelters hoping for forever homes because of such situations or “accidental breedings.”  In this day and age, there are plenty of online resources to educate kids on the whole process.  Local shelters may even have pregnant animals that you could foster if you so desire. But please be sure that, if you consider breeding, you are doing it for ONLY the RIGHT reasons – to make a better, healthier pet.

Quick Bites

  • Dixie and Kinsley

    Dr. Keith, Courtney G and Sarah A attended the Oregon Veterinary Conference in Corvallis, OR, March 1-3. This yearly event is a cooperative effort of the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association and the College of Veterinary Medicine at OSU and provides meaningful continuing education to Northwest veterinarians, practice managers and paraprofessionals.

  • The Oregon Animal Hall of Fame is an annual program to honor animals and their caregivers who show the strength and value of the human-animal bond. This year’s award, in the Companion Animal category, announced at the 2019 Oregon Veterinary Conference in Corvallis, went to Dixie, owned by our very own Rachell, veterinary assistant, and her daughter, Kinsley.  Dixie is a 9-year old female Japanese Chin and Kinsley is a 5 year-old little girl and theirs is a very special relationship.  To read more, click here and scroll half-way down the page.
  • Sadly, we want our Cinder Rock family to know that we lost our beloved Sonny on March 4, 2019. Sonny was our most cherished friend and devoted member of our staff for 20 years, and he will be greatly missed by all.


 Cinder Rock Veterinary Clinic welcomes Dr. Trevor Miller

 It is with pleasure that we announce the addition of Dr. Trevor Miller to our veterinary team in February, 2019.  Dr. Trevor grew up in Placerville, CA, a small town in the foothills near Lake Tahoe.  He lived in the country surrounded by animals – from the dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens and horses around the property, to the rats and hamsters his mom would bring home from her elementary school classroom.  He attended the University of California Berkeley for undergrad, followed by the University of California Davis for veterinary school. After graduation, he did an intensive one-year rotating internship at East Bay Veterinary Specialists and Emergency in Walnut Creek, CA and went on to practice general and emergency medicine in the Bay Area for several years. He and his wife Ashley moved to Bend in January, 2019.  They have always loved the natural beauty and active communities of Central Oregon. They share their home with a chubby orange tabby cat named Gonzo and a German Shepherd named Dragon. Here at Cinder Rock he said that he was immediately struck by our high-quality medicine and long-standing relationship with our clients and the community.  We are excited to have Dr. Trevor’s experience and skill at Cinder Rock and pleased that he has joined our team of doctors.