Breeding a litter of puppies can be an exciting, magical, nerve-wracking, and expensive experience all rolled into one. So if you’re considering doing just that, you might now be looking at the T’s and C’s of your pet’s insurance policy, scratching your head and wondering why it doesn’t cover illness or injury associated with such events. Well, you’re not alone. Most ‘standard’ insurance policies exclude ailments deemed to be connected to breeding. Whilst many dams give birth with relative ease, gestational problems and issues with giving birth can, and do sometimes occur. The veterinary fees connected with these complications can mount up. Some breeders are prepared to cover these costs with money put aside. However if you haven’t got a spare few grand knocking about, it might be worth getting a specialised insurance policy lined up.

What can insurance cover?

Specialised insurance policies tend to have different sections, so let’s look at them in turn.


One significant potential complication on every breeder’s mind is the requirement for the delivery of puppies via caesarean section. There are certain varieties of dogs more prone to require this surgical intervention, such as brachycephalic breeds like bulldogs and pugs. The relatively large heads of these puppies, compared to the birth canal of the mother, means that they can literally become stuck. Another risk category for caesarean section is immaturity. Where a dog has been bred perhaps before they are appropriately mature enough to handle to process, muscular weakness and an under-developed reproductive tract can mean that pushing pups out is simply too much. 

Emergency surgery can save the lives of compromised puppies, as well as their mum. And a policy that includes vets fees can help towards the costs. There are other gestational and whelping complications for which treatment might well be covered by these policies; such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and dystocia. Once again, be sure to check the small print though, as many companies have very specific exclusions, especially around breeding-related complications.


Some breeding policies will cater for a litter of puppies once they are born and until they are rehomed. Some even cover them as late as 14 weeks of age (provided they remain with the breeder). Of course, puppies can be at risk of accident and injury. However, this element of insurance can really come into its own when it comes to ‘fading puppies’. Typically describing puppies who are apparently normal at birth, but who fail to thrive within the first two weeks of life, fading puppy syndrome can be fatal. Veterinary intervention is by far their best hope. An insurance policy that covers this can help ease the financial worry for breeders during this difficult time.  

What’s more, some policies will pass on a number of weeks free cover to the puppy under the new owner’s care, and even if that puppy has had a claim submitted on behalf of them, it may not be considered an exclusion should the owner convert their policy to a lifetime cover thereafter. So you can see how some breeders policies really are designed to join up insurance cover right from gestation to end of life.  

If the worst happens

Another element to some breeder insurance policies is death benefit (as unpleasant a term as it is). In the sad event of the dog dying due to pregnancy or birthing complications, a lump sum payment is paid to the owner. 


Fertility examination may even be covered where an issue is suspected. And where fertility problems are diagnosed, there may be funds to put towards treatments in an attempt to correct them. This is usually only in the most specific (and expensive) policies. But it is worth considering if you are breeding commercially under a license.


There are certain things that these policies are unlikely to cover. And these tend to be procedures that are deemed as ‘elective’. Pre-natal examinations, pre-breeding tests, and artificial insemination are just some examples. 

The right breeder’s insurance policy can be a reasonably comprehensive one 

Sometimes, these can even be added to a dog’s lifetime policy as a ‘bolt on’. Reading the terms and conditions is extremely important, ensuring that the pay-out per condition is sufficient to be of reasonable use should you be faced with a large veterinary bill, and that you are covered for everything that you wish to be. 

In conclusion, whether you’re a seasoned breeder or planning a single litter from your beloved pet, a breeding dog insurance policy can give you peace of mind that should something go wrong, you have financial back up. Even where dogs are bred for business, it can be a false economy to discount these policies as a perceived unnecessary ‘overhead’, because in the long run, a policy like this could save you thousands – as well as leaving you with healthy mum and even puppies, where that might not otherwise have been the case.

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