pet owner and black lab

How Can Pet Owners Prevent Dogs from Reproducing – If They Don’t Spay or Neuter???

Dear Pet Owner,

Good question!! This is often the response to recommendations against spaying or neutering your dog too early, or at all.  We get comments like, “Well if you don’t spay or neuter them, they’ll end up having puppies and we’ll have even more dogs in shelters!”  or “But I don’t want to breed her…”  Let’s start with this… shelters are not filling up because of RESPONSIBLE pet owners. There are not unwanted puppies out there because of RESPONSIBLE pet owners.  So let’s instead, educate pet owners!  Just because your dog is not spayed or neutered, does not mean they have to reproduce.

If you’ve been lucky enough to have an Endless Mt. Labrador. you were drilled, required to read studies, and then educated again and again on this. We only sell to RESPONSIBLE pet owners. I can proudly say, in 30 years, only ONE dog had an “oops”…and it even happened to me once (at a dog show, while on the road with a handler, where two of my dogs were there, but no one noticed she was in heat and she got bred…luckily it was a lovely combination and she had a beautiful litter of pups!)  But lets talk about how to think about this responsibly and wisely one you’ve studied and researched the idea of spaying or neutering. (See our blog Why should I wait to spay or neuter my dog?)

Daisy- Endless Mt. Labradors

Daisy (Erica x Mackie)

A couple of definitions…

  • “in season”– or “in heat”; when she can be bred
  • “intact”– not spayed or neutered
  • “spotting”– light bleeding brought on by her heat cycle

So let’s take a step into the biology of it all… a female dog will go into her first heat between 9-14 months, on average.  She will have some spotting and swelling.  When you see that first drop of blood, mark it on your calendar.  This is her Day 1.  Her cycle will be 21 days.  She may not bleed that whole time, but that is the amount of time you want to be cautious of any intact males.  You can get canine diapers for her at any pet supple store, or online, so that you don’t get any spots on your carpets!  Some dogs are very efficient at cleaning themselves so you may have to wipe with a tissue to make sure that she is, in fact, in season. Now technically, she will only be fertile for a certain time in the middle of that cycle… but we as breeders do progesterone testing to figure out exactly when that is.  We don’t expect pet owners to do that, so we caution them for the whole three week cycle.  An average female goes into heat every 6 months.  So there are only two times a year that she can get pregnant.

Now let’s get to the preventative part!  As I said earlier, just because your dog is left intact, does not mean you’re automatically going to end up with a pregnant female or the dog responsible for the pregnant female!

***Here are a few tips for owners of female dogs:

  1. It is proper dog etiquette, to not take your female dog, in heat, to a dog park or other public place when there may be intact males.  That’s just asking for it, and the owners of said intact males will not be thrilled with you!
  2. While your female is in heat, monitor her while she is outside.  If you do not have a fenced in yard, or only an invisible fence, this will not keep other dogs out… only your dog in. Do not leave her outside in a non-fenced yard without your supervision.  Of course your dog should really always be supervised when outside as there are other everyday hazards that they can get into.  But especially if you do not have a fenced in yard.  You will want to be cautious of your walks around the neighborhood with her.
  3. Chlorophyll. Yep, that green stuff found in plants!  Not only is it a natural odor-neutralizer but it’s also been found to be anti-carcinogenic.  Giving your girl a daily dose of this stuff will help mask her scent while in heat.  This will work for other doggy odors too!  So you may want to think of adding it to your dog’s diet, anyway! 😀
Squishy Amy- Endless Mt. Labradors

Squishy, sleepy Amy…

***Now for the owners of male dogs:

  1. I know you’re doing the happy dance because your dog will not go into heat!  But, we’re all adults here… and we all know it takes TWO to make some puppies… With this being said, there is only ONE thing I can tell you: Do NOT let your dog be the neighborhood stud!  Do not allow him to run loose, especially where there could be female dogs in heat.  Again, there’s really a small window of opportunity that a male will even want to breed a female and that she will let him.  But better safe than sorry!
Mackie- Endless Mt. Labradors

Mackie at Wine Country 2012


 The bottom line is this:  Be responsible.  

Keep an eye on your dog.  Monitor them.  Watch them. It’s really not that hard to make sure that your dog doesn’t make or have puppies… We prevent dogs from breeding just as much as we breed dogs here.  We even have females that we no longer breed, such as Amy (4 yrs), and when she’s in heat we simply make sure none of the boys get to be alone with her! 😉

If you’re reading this and thinking this is too much responsibility for you to bother with and it’s easier to just spay or neuter your dog as early as possible, then consider this… Would you surgically remove your teenager’s reproductive organs to make sure they don’t have an unwanted pregnancy? (I’m sure I don’t want to know everyone’s answer to that!)  In other words… take seriously your responsibility as a pet owner, just as much as you would to be a parent.

Now some of you may be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, in a perfect world everyone would be a responsible pet owner.” Then let the perfect world begin with you!  And pass on the education to other pet owners.  Who knows, maybe someday we can achieve this ideal.


Why should I wait to spay or neuter my dog?

How do I get my own Endless Mt. Lab?!


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