So you have a very nice female dog and would like to raise a litter of puppies.

Please read this site . Breeding dogs is  not always as easy as you would think.  The best thing you could do is be prepared. I am not going to go into the picking a stud or the ethics of breeding ,  I want to get down to the nitty gritty here. 



 We will cover, how to know the right time to breed {when your dog is ovulating}

How to tell if your dog is pregnant .

 Care of the pregnant dog.

How to tell when you dog will whelp.

Signs that your dog is starting labour.

Whelping puppies.

Caring for your bitch after whelping .

Caring for new born puppies.


When to breed your dog


What age to breed your dog

The age to breed your dog depends on the breed , small breed dogs may be bred at a year and a half of age and larger breed dogs need to wait until they are 2 years of age before they can be bred . Find out threw a breed club if there are any health testing that needs to be done on your breed before she  should be bred. Before you breed your dog please have the male and female tested for Brucella  this is a canine venereal disease and testing should always be part of a prebreeding workup in both male and female dogs.


How to tell when your dog will be in heat

Have her period or be in season when she is ovulating.

The age a female first comes into heat {has her period, goes into season} will vary from 5 months of age to 2 years of age . It is often believed you need to wait until at least the second heat in small dogs or third in large dogs . But since some female do not even have a first heat until they are mature I do not go by this belief . Each female dog is an individual and will show all or some of the signs of coming into season.

The normal length  of time between heat cycles is 4 to 7 months .

The first sign your bitch is coming into heat is, male dogs may find her more interesting and sniff her vulva.

Some female may become more skittish or more shy or more aggressive with other dogs. Basically some female will show a change in behaviour .

Then you may notice her vulva will become larger , more swollen, and her teats may look softer and pinker.

The puffy vulva may start up to 2 weeks before her heat actually starts but as soon as I see a puffy vulva , I wipe her vulva every morning and every night to look for traces of the first blood spotting.

Once you notice the first blood,  mark this down on a calendar , this is a very important date to know as you will see from reading on.

Male dogs may become more interested in your female now, but most females will not let a male mount her at this early stage. I say most because some female will allow breeding at any stage during the heat. If you want the breeding to succeed do not let the boy waist his sperm on a breeding that is to early . The male dose not have an endless supply of sperm and some male dogs have a slow sperm recovery rate . Meaning they do not reproduce sperm quickly.

  Ovulation in a female dog usually occurs 8 to 10 days after first blood , this can vary from heat to heat or dog to dog.

The female is most fertile 24 to 48 hrs after ovulation. If you are breeding with out the help of science  it is around day 8 after first blood that I let a male have access to the female. Do not be concerned if she will not let the male mount her . Try again in a day or two.  Counting days from first blood or watching for the blood discharge to thin are not 100% accurate at predicting when a female is ovulating but it is the only way we had to predict ovulation in year gone by , and many a litter was produced by watching the discharge and counting days. Today we have science to help us .

 There are several ways to tell when a female is ready to ovulate


Watching for changes in blood color

 1.As the female gets closer to ovulation the blood thins, the bloody discharge may turn pale pink, straw color or disappear altogether. Once the blood is straw color or very pale pink, this is a sign ovulation is close .

2, You can use Litmus paper such as  ph sticks or Wysong estrus strips to test for pH changes in the Vagina. PH of the canine vagina drops from 8.5 to as much as 7.0 during Ovulation.

These are very cheep and easy to use.  Simply clean the vulva area and insert the test strip, and watch for a reading of 8.5 to as much as 7.0

They are very cheep  around $10 to $14  and can be ordered here ______________________________

3. Fertile Focuse Ovulation test

Fertile-Focus is the affordable high-quality saliva-based fertility test that allows you to predict ovulation with 98% accuracy - days in advance!


When a bitch is about to ovulate, a distinct crystal "ferning" pattern becomes present in her dried saliva due to hormonal changes causing the electrolytes (or salts) to increase in her body fluids. This ferning coincides with the rise in Estrogen that precedes the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) Surge by about 2 days and precedes Ovulation by roughly 4 days.  (See diagram below)


Therefore, the ferning is first seen up to 4 days before ovulation in canines and can continue for two-three days after ovulation. Once ovulation occurs it takes the released ova from 2 to 2 ½ days to ripen. The ova are then fertile for the balance of five days from ovulation

This product is reusable and very cost effective . It can be ordered here for around $30


 Your veterinarian has a few tricks up his sleeve to tell when your dog is ready to breed.


Vaginal cytology is a simple technique that can be used by your vet to help  to determine the stage of the reproductive cycle.  The veterinarian takes a swab from deep with in the females vagina and looks for changes in the cells  . The vet can tell this way when your female is getting close to ovulation.

2,  Your veterinarian can draw blood from your dog and test for Progesterone levels or an LH serge.

This is the most accurate test for predicting ovulation and the most expensive . My veterinarian charges 90 dollar for the test and it may require 2 or three tests . But most serious breeder find it is well worth the money.

There are progesterone testing kits you can buy to do it your self but you will need to be able to draw blood from your female and spin it down your self. Here is a link to a web site that sells them

Here is a test the looks for the LH serge in female dogs.

 This is a great book for serious breeders




Canine Pregnancy: Predicting Parturition and Timing Events of Gestation



















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