What is Breeding Timing?
It is known that female dogs come into the period of heat, or the estrous cycle, twice per year. The period will last approximately three to four weeks. Ovulation timing is a valuable tool when it comes to breeding because it will help you determine the optimum time for conception to occur. Breeding timing can also be helpful in determining when your dog will give birth (also known as whelping). Not to be minimized in any way are the preparations needed to ensure a healthy pregnancy, and a warm, safe environment in which the puppies can grow and be cared for by their mother. It's important that you are absolutely sure that you can handle the necessary financial commitment, medical care necessities, and the importance of strict evaluation of prospective owners when considering breeding your dog.The timing of the ovulation cycle in female dogs is a very important element of breeding timing. The likelihood of conception is greatly increased with the study of the canine estrous cycle, the awareness of hormonal implications, and the understanding of examinations and insemination methods. If you are considering breeding your dog, bring your pet to the veterinarian clinic first, in order to be sure that you are breeding in a responsible way.
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Symptoms of Breeding Timing in Dogs
The veterinarian will be a large part of the breeding timing process. The knowledge of the breeding cycle and the signs (obvious as well as hormonal) is a valuable addition provided by the veterinarian. Remember, your pet’s doctor is also a wealth of information in regards to genetics and mate selection. Symptoms that you will learn to recognize as you study and learn the process of breeding timing in dogs are:
- Appearance of a vaginal discharge
- There will be red tinge accompanying the discharge, which originates in the uterus
- Signs of vulvar swelling
- Changes in behavior such as submissiveness, but also playfulness
- Your dog may hold her tail to one side and position herself in front of a male dog
TypesWhen attempting to breed your dog, there are a few methods to use that will assist greatly in a successful conception:
- Vaginoscopy - The walls of the vagina are examined for mucous appearance, which can indicate readiness for breeding. Female dogs in the ovulation cycle will usually stand calmly for the procedure if approached and treated in a gentle, quiet manner. Hormonal changes in the vagina can range from being more dry to a more moist, pink mucosa.
- Vaginal Cytology - Regular smears are taken to look for structural changes in the cells. As estrogen levels rise, the cells flatten and appear sharper. This is usually an easy test to perform and is not expensive; it is often performed every other day until the cornification step is reached.
- LH (Luteinizing Hormone) testing - Blood is drawn daily (after the dog is 60% verified cornified by cytology) to confirm the presence of LH. Luteinizing hormone causes ovulation, and though this method of breeding timing can be time-consuming and relatively costly, the test performs well in accuracy.
- Blood progesterone levels - This method can provide a quick estimate of progesterone levels. The baseline levels will increase prior to the luteinizing hormone surge. An indication of a rise in progesterone means the fertile period is approaching. This test performs well, but successful results will depend on the time between test intervals.
Causes of Breeding Timing in Dogs
There may be more than a few reasons why you would choose to use a breeding timing method for your dog, as opposed to the natural method of conceiving between two dogs:
- The male dog you have chosen as the breeding partner is not nearby
- The male dog has low fertility
- Your female dog has an abnormal heat cycle
- Previous attempts at breeding have failed because of improper timing
- You are using frozen or chilled semen; fresh semen lives much longer so timing is optimum if you are using frozen or chilled
Diagnosis of Breeding Timing in Dogs
The veterinarian can help you make the best decision on which method of breeding timing is best. Sometimes, a combination of the methods we discussed is the chosen path to breeding. Because of the fact that your dog’s health is always the number one priority, a complete physical checkup including all of the appropriate vaccinations, along with a serious discussion detailing your plans is a must. The veterinarian will be able to recommend literary sources and validated websites in order for you to study the subject before making a step. Speaking with reputable, certified breeders may be advised so you can truly be made aware of the commitment and medical, financial and ethical responsibilities. Because the key to success is in the timing, the veterinarian will need to be included as part of the journey to breed your pet.
In regards to selecting a male to partner with your dog, you may ask the veterinarian to avail you to the knowledge of the male breed soundness evaluation (BSE). This is done to verify the health and fertility of the stud dog. The dog’s history will be reviewed, and his physical health will be confirmed. A semen collection will be obtained to establish semen motility, shape and structure. An examination of the prostate is often included. Choosing a healthy dog with a good personality is an important detail that you must remember.
Treatment of Breeding Timing in Dogs
A straightforward way to understand the process of the breeding timing cycle is to look briefly at the four stages:
- Proestrus - This is the period where you and the veterinarian will do the observation and determination of readiness for breeding. There is a rise in estrogen and the vaginal discharge tinged with blood will appear. Your dog will not be interested in breeding yet. The veterinarian may use a combination of breeding timing methods now, such as the vaginoscopy or the LH hormone analysis. Sometimes an ultrasound is included to look at the ovaries.
- Estrus - The LH surge occurs now, and the maturation of cells in the ovary takes place. Your dog will be receptive to breeding. Breeding timing methods will show continuing stages of readiness, such as the vaginoscopy that will reveal that the cells are cornified.
- Diestrus - The LH surge has passed, and your dog will no longer be interested in breeding with the male counterpart. The discharge diminishes and if conception occurred you now have a mother in the gestational stage.
- Anestrus - This is the stage between diestrus and the next proestrus period.
Recovery of Breeding Timing in Dogs
Responsible breeding timing in dogs goes hand in hand with assuring that you are doing so in a humane, caring manner. Careful selection of the breeding partner is without question. As the owner of a female dog, those choosing to breed must allow adequate time for recovery and rest between pregnancies. Male dogs must also be given consideration to reduce the stress and fatigue that can result from overbreeding.
The veterinarian will continue to guide you throughout the pregnancy of your dog and can safely and accurately monitor the development of the pups through methods like pregnancy ultrasound and x-ray. Having a veterinarian available during the birthing process, and as the puppies grow is paramount to success. She will be able to advise you on the health of the puppies and assist you in making sure they are immunized in a timely manner in order to avoid problems down the road.