Animal reproduction is a complex process with one goal: to procreate. In dogs, reproduction can occur naturally or artificially through semen collection for artificial insemination.
Whether you go the natural or the artificial way is up to you but it can also depend on your dog’s reproductive health.
Canine reproduction may sound really simple but there’s a lot that goes on in reproduction and problems that can arise before copulation and before healthy puppies arrive.
This article talks about male and female reproductive heat cycle, fertility, and other reproduction basics.
Dog’s Heat Cycle
Dogs attain sexual maturity around the age of 6-10 months, depending on the breed and size. A smaller breed of dogs may reach sexual maturity at around four months while bigger breeds may be as late as two years of age.
A male dog, after sexual maturity, can be sexually stimulated and ready for mating at any point in its life. Make dogs are always willing unless they have physical disabilities that limit them from cooperating.
A female dog, in contrast, is only ready to breed when it is in heat.
Female Dog’s Heat Cycle
Your dog won’t be in heat until it’s about six months of age, give or take a few months depending on the breed and size.
A female dog’s heat cycle has two major stages, each lasting 9 days on average:
1. Proestrus – bloody discharge will start but the dog will not be receptive to male attention yet. Here are other telling signs.
● swollen vulva
● welcomes male attention
● excessive genital licking
● urinates frequently
● change in tail position
2. Estrus – eggs are released from your dog’s ovaries and progesterone levels will start to go up. Your dog will also start to welcome male dogs’ attention at this time.
The best time for mating that would highly likely result in pregnancy would generally be between the 10th and the 14th day from the time your dog had a bloody discharge.
Not all female dogs ovulate at this period, though. In fact, some may ovulate on the 3rd or 4th day, while others won’t ovulate until the 18th day.
It’s best to get your dog several progesterone tests for a more accurate day.
How to Tell If Your Dog Is Ready to Breed
In a female dog, the heat cycle may occur twice or thrice a year. They are ready to breed when they are in heat but you should wait until their 3rd heat cycle before you breed your dog to avoid potential health risks.
When it comes to male dogs, there is no downtime. They are always responsive to female dogs in heat. Male dogs are sexually active throughout the year.
In fact, male dogs as young as 5 months old can already produce puppies. If you’re a breeder, you might want to wait until your dog is one and a half years old before breeding for health reasons and for a more successful breeding outcome.
Canine Gestation Period
From conception, the average gestation period is 63 days or 9 weeks. If the dog has been bred two or three times, or if the eggs are fertilized a day or two after the mating, the results may differ. For roughly 48 hours, eggs are viable for up to 48 hours and sperm can survive in the dog’s vaginal tract for several days.
Smaller breeds will typically have only two to three litters while large breeds can have as many as eight to ten puppies.
Need Breeding Help?
If you need progesterone test machines to accurately predict your female dog’s most fertile period, check out MR Diagnostic Services.
Their test kits like progesterone tests, pregnancy tests, sperm analysis, and other canine reproduction tools can assist you in breeding dogs. Contact them today.