Fertility for Bitches
You should only breed from a female dog who is fit, healthy and shows a good temperament. Before mating, the bitch should have health tests to check if there are any conditions she could pass on to her puppies.
Age should also be taken into account. It is recommended to wait until a bitch is at least one year and has had a full season already before attempting to mate. Once a dog is over the age of around eight, the risks of mating and whelping begin to increase.
If you intend to breed from your bitch, you should make sure she has optimum nutrition and has had all the vet care she needs prior to mating. You should also start to keep records of her heat cycles, which will help you to predict the due date of her litter when she gets pregnant.
Oestrus, or heat, are the times when your female (bitch) dog is receptive to mating. A number of things happen to your dog during this period. For instance, oestrogen levels spike before dipping, mature eggs are released from her ovaries, and her behaviour may change. Your bitch might also be nervier, and don’t be surprised if she starts presenting her rear end to male dogs as they pass. She’ll also bleed, and urinate more often.
The oestrus cycle in bitches varies by breed and size, but you can expect her to go into heat for the first time from around six months old. When it comes to putting your bitch’s best interests first, remember it’s not advised to breed from a female on their first cycle.
We highly recommend you bring your girl for an ovulation test on day 9 (from the first day of bleeding) to determine her hormone levels. This will give you a more precise time to mate increasing the chances of a healthy pregnancy/litter.
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