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When to mate our dogs

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Female dogs generally have two reproductive cycles per year. This process begins at the so called puberty. Small breeds may start their cycles at 5-6 months of age, while some large breeds may not cycle until two years of age. The average age of puberty is 7-10 months. Generally, the commencement of the cycle or heat is marked by a bloody vaginal discharge which could continue for 4 – 9 days.{{more}} The vulva becomes swollen often about twice the normal size. After this, the female normally will accept the male and stands up for mating.

This receptive stage may last a few days or as long as two weeks. The most commonly used breeding dates are the 9th, 11th and 13th days from the first bloody vaginal discharge. Repeated breeding 48 hours apart, as long as the female accepts the male, often times produces the best conception rates.

Usually, no assistance is needed for successful mating, especially if the dog had previous mating experience. Occasionally, however, some assistance must be given. The male may need help mounting and entering the female, or the female may need to be restrained so that she does not harm the male. A muzzle around the female’s mouth may be helpful. If trouble is encountered, perhaps the timing is not correct. Double check the dates. If it is too early, try again in a few days. If she has passed the two week mark from the inception of the bloody discharge, better luck next mating season. If you are unsure about the exact time to mate, you could bring the female dog into the clinic to do a simple vaginal swab, which is checked under the microscope to determine if she is ready or not for mating.

Near the conclusion of mating, the dogs will become “tied” together for up to half an hour. Occasionally, the male turns around and the dogs appear “end to end”. This is normal and no cause for alarm. Do not attempt to forcefully pull the dogs apart, as this may cause injury.

Female dogs should not be bred during the first heat period. Wait until the second or third heat to breed your female.

Since pregnancy represents a considerable strain on the mother, females should not be bred every “season”. Acceptable breeding programmes include breeding every other heat or breeding during two consecutive heats and skipping the third.

If a pregnancy results from the mating, the puppies should be born in approximately 58 – 63 days . Begin counting from the first mating.

For further information, contact: Dr. Collin Boyle Unique

Animal Care Co. Ltd. Tel: 456 4981