Does typical coverage include pregnancy and breeding expenses?
The vast majority of pet insurance companies make it clear that they don’t cover pregnancy-related costs. However, Trupanion claims to be “the first pet insurance provider to cover certain health conditions associated with breeding dogs and cats.” That said, Trupanion doesn't cover planned caesarean births, routine prenatal exams, pre-breeding tests, fertility treatment, or artificial insemination. To receive this kind of coverage, you must categorize your cat or dog as a breeding pet when you enroll.
AKC Pet Insurance offers a Breeder Support Program, but this is somewhat misleading: it doesn’t actually cover pregnancy costs, but rather “a variety of accidents and illnesses that can occur in a young puppy.” Nevertheless, if you’re planning to breed your pet, this might be useful.
Pet breeding and pregnancy is expensive to do safely; this is made even more problematic by the fact that almost no pet insurance companies, including Figo and Hartville, cover these expenses. For this reason, as well as the dangers and risks involved in breeding your pet, it’s important to be very careful before deciding to do so.
About Pregnancy and Breeding in Pets
Breeding your pet is a major decision that should not be taken lightly. After all, there are 70 million feral cats in the U.S. alone (which give birth to an average of about 1.4 litters per year); additionally, 3.3 million dogs enter American animal shelters each year.
In most cases it may be a much smarter and more compassionate decision to adopt a rescue pet, rather than bringing more into the world. Before making the decision to breed your pet, it’s important to know that their offspring will have a home, since dogs have an average litter size of 5-6 puppies and cats’ average litter size is 3-5 kittens. That’s quite a few young animals to find homes. You should also be sure that your pet is in excellent health and that they have no behavioral issues that they might pass down to their descendants.
Breeding-related health risks
There are some notable health risks associated with pet breeding. These include:
- Increased risk of developing prostate disease and testicular cancer in unneutered male cats and dogs
- Increased risk of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and mammary gland tumors in unspayed female pets
- Higher likelihood that pets will roam if they are unspayed or unneutered
- Dystocia, when the pregnant female is not able to progress normally in the process of labor
- Eclampsia (milk fever) caused by low levels of calcium in the blood due to lactation
- Haemorrhage, high flow of blood
- Metritis, meaning inflammation of the uterus (typically due to an infection)
- Mastitis, which is infection and inflammation of the mammary gland
Costs of Breeding Your Dog or Cat
The cost of each pregnancy for each pet will be different, as different concerns and medical needs can pop up throughout the course of the pregnancy.
According to one dog breeder, O’Mal Alaskan Malamutes, it costs anywhere from $7,788 (low end) to $23,899 (high end) for them to breed a litter of purebred Malamute puppies. Likewise, Furry Acres, a Maine Coon cat breeder, estimates that the total cost for each litter “in [the] best case scenario where all goes well” is $933.
If anything goes wrong, costs increase drastically. For instance, the average cost of a C-section in dogs is $500 to $2,000, while one standard veterinarian charges $400 to $800 to perform a C-section on a cat. The cost of potential complications (listed above) should be factored into the predicted cost of breeding your pet.