Dog Breeding Tips For Beginners – How To Breed Your Dog

dog breeding
Photo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_breeding

How To Breed A Dog

Some dog owners extend their love for animals into an interest in breeding their dog, and some do it primarily as a source of extra income. Though many dog breeders have made dog breeding business to create a full-time income for them.

Dog breeding is more of a responsibility than a passing interest and just thinking of the money you will make selling your dog puppies. And as such, there are a few things to consider before immersing yourself and your dog in the process.

Dog Breeding Tips And Advice

To first thing to consider are your dog’s age, breed, and health status. Veterinarians recommend not breeding dogs that are less than eighteen months old. I don’t breed my dogs until they are 2 years of age, to make sure that my female dog is physically mature enough to carry a litter of puppies.

Even PCCI, a recognized registering body for pedigreed dogs in the Philippines, is not allowing puppies to be registered if the stud is less than 10 months old and dam is less than a year old

This allows you as an owner the opportunity to schedule tests that rule out any genetic defects or conditions they could pass on to their offspring. Like a stud having no balls or one ball only.

There are other health issues which can affect your decision to breed your dog. These health concerns can be general, as in the case of brucellosis (a bacterial infection spread among breeding dogs that can contribute to infertility, abortion, or stillborn puppies), or a male dog may simply not be fertile.

Or they can be specific to certain breeds.

Dachshunds and Basset Hounds have long spines and short legs, for instance, which makes them prone to back problems as they age. Retrievers, Shepherds, and Great Danes frequently develop hip dysplasia, easily confirmed by x-rays. Collies are predisposed to two eye disorders, Collie Eye Anomaly and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Testing your dog before breeding will let you know if he is carrying any of these conditions. If he is, then he’s not a good candidate for parenthood.

Regular treatment for heartworm, intestinal worms and fleas are essential to keep your animal in good health for breeding. As well as standard vaccinations to protect against the most common viruses (parvovirus, parainfluenza, distemper, hepatitis, and leptospirosis).

Also, providing them with good nutrition and regular exercise are important in increasing the chances of producing healthy puppies. Visit your veterinarian to make sure there are no potential problems that need to be addressed before deciding to breed your dog.

You should carefully consider the reasons behind your decision to breed a dog. If money from the sale of purebred puppies is the sole source of inspiration, consider the expenses involved from beginning to end.

Stud fees, genetic testing, veterinary care, a possible cesarean delivery, and the cost of feeding, worming, and vaccinating puppies will quickly eat into any profits you may earn. Unless you’ve spent considerable time and effort researching such a venture, you must be prepared for these costs, and be prepared to make a financial loss from a litter.

Another poor reason for breeding is to get a dog just like the one you already have. This isn’t likely to happen because your pups are just as likely to resemble the other parent, or have characteristics that are a mixture of both parents.

A more sensible approach to dog breeding relies on selecting characteristics that you hope to pass on to future generations of the breed. Each breeding should be carefully planned to result in puppies that are an improvement on the generation before.

This is how dog breeds are continually improved.

Breeding dogs is a rewarding pastime, but make sure your motives are honorable. And you have the health and well-being of your dog and its breed foremost in your mind.

Further Reading:

Dog Breeding Isn’t Always Pretty

How To Mate Dog Successfully

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Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dogs_mating_2.jpg

Mating dogs take patience and good timing, but can be successful if you plan carefully.

Here are the things to consider to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

It is a good idea to introduce the dogs you plan to mate before the female comes into heat. Though I don’t see this happen most of the time, as female dog owners only start to look for a stud when their female dog started to heat.

Introducing dogs beforehand give you the opportunity to see how they get along.
Whether they act aggressively toward each other, or whether they are quite friendly.

Also, this will result in better quality of the litter since you have enough time to check and look for qualities you want the puppies to have. A few days together should determine whether they are compatible enough to consider breeding them.

If so, when your girl comes into heat, you can safely move on to the next stage.
A female dog (bitch) usually comes into heat twice a year, starting with proestrus, which generally lasts between seven and ten days.

When she does, you will notice a small amount of bloody discharge from her vulva, and it will swell and become more pliable. The first heat usually takes place between six and twelve months of age. But as I mention earlier it’s not a good idea to breed your female on this first heat.

She’s still young, and would benefit from a bit more physical maturity before becoming a mom. The most fertile time to breed dogs is between ten and fourteen days after the female starts bleeding.

If the dogs have not been introduced, you should allow supervised periods of interaction every forty-eight hours until the bitch will not allow the male dog (stud) to mate anymore.

That way, there are no risks to either dog from personality clashes.

Dogs that haven’t been bred before may not know what they should do. And may need the help of an experienced shooter to help them mate successfully.

During mating, the two dogs will “tie” – they will be locked together at the genitals for 20-45 minutes. This is nature’s way of improving the odds for a successful mating. But, even if the dogs don’t tie, pregnancy is still possible.

If you’re new to breeding dogs, this dog breeding tie might concern you. It is a normal part of dog mating and is nothing to worry about. It’s important that you don’t try and separate the two dogs before they are ready. This can lead to damage to the genitals of both male and female dogs.

Dogs that are new to breeding may also be distressed at their inability to separate, and you may need to reassure them, and calm them down. But, dogs often just get down to business and mate successfully without any human intervention.

Sometimes dogs just don’t get pregnant, in spite of your best efforts.

If you still want to breed your dog, you may look for a veterinarian who specializes in reproductive medicine in your area. He can help identify why your dog isn’t conceiving, and help you work around it.
These days, there are many reproductive technologies available to dogs, including artificial insemination.
They are expensive, but can often result in pregnancy when nature doesn’t take its course.

Further Reading:

How to introduce your dog to another dog in ten easy steps 

Pregnancy in Dogs

After the successful mating of your dog, there are early signs of pregnancy in dogs you can look for to know if she’s pregnant. But if you want to know for sure if she’s pregnant, you’ll need to visit your veterinarian.

A pregnancy test can be performed as early as twenty-six days after mating.
Your vet will perform a simple blood test to look for a hormone called relaxin.
Which remains in the bloodstream of pregnant dogs throughout pregnancy and up to two weeks after whelping.

Your vet can often feel puppies in your bitch’s abdomen after five weeks.
An ultrasound can also determine whether your dog is pregnant after only three weeks. After seven weeks, the doctor will be able to see how many puppies are there and check their size, to make sure you’re both prepared for any potential delivery complications.

Some symptoms of pregnancy in dogs might include a change in normal behavior, a loss of appetite, weight gain. There is also a possibility of some vomiting, and perhaps a noticeable increase in the size of her nipples.

Your dog may also become more clingy and affectionate. These changes take place during the first few weeks of pregnancy

How to care for a pregnant dog

A dog’s pregnancy lasts between sixty-three and sixty-five days. During this time, she may prefer smaller, more frequent meals. The puppies will be taking up space in her abdomen and there’s less room for food in her stomach.

A balanced diet is important for pregnant dogs, and calcium supplements should be avoided to eliminate the risk of eclampsia while she’s feeding her babies. If you supplement calcium during pregnancy, you switch off her body’s natural calcium regulation system.

So, when she needs extra calcium to produce milk, her body can’t meet the demand straight away. This results in trembling and seizures, and can be fatal.

The size of the litter and the size of your bitch will determine how firm or distended her abdomen looks and feels. As the weeks go by, she will gain weight and her abdomen will be hanging down loosely.

You can often feel the puppies moving during the last couple of weeks of her pregnancy. Her nipples may leak a little milk as she gets closer to her delivery date.

Exercise is important during pregnancy, but it should be gentle and not too strenuous, like that for human mothers approaching the final stages of their pregnancy.

If any bleeding or vaginal discharge develops, or if your dog stops eating or becomes lethargic, it may be time to call a veterinarian for advice.

In the final days before delivery, your bitch will become restless and begin her nesting behavior. That’s a sign that it’s time to provide her with a proper whelping box for the birthing process.

Towards the end of her pregnancy, your dog’s temperature will drop from a normal 101 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit to between 97 and 99 degrees. This is a sure sign that she will deliver her pups within 24 hours.

Whelping dogs

To make the whelping process easier for you and your bitch, you need to plan ahead for any potential problems. Your bitch will show signs that she’s approaching labor. Some signs of laboring behavior are restlessness, panting or shivering, and preparing a nesting area.

It’s a good idea to provide a proper whelping box for dogs to keep mom and her babies warm and clean. A sturdy cardboard box lined with clean newspaper is an inexpensive solution and is easy to dispose of after the pups are weaned.

You will know if delivery is just a few days away when your bitch starts to shred the newspaper and arrange her nesting area.

You need to prepare for whelping ahead of time and have some necessary supplies like tissues, paper towels, clean towels and garbage bags.

Just before whelping, your bitch may lose her appetite and become clingy. Her temperature will drop on that last day before birth, from a normal rectal temperature of between 101 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit to around 98.5 degrees. She may also begin to leak milk from her nipples.

Stages of pregnancy in dogs just before giving birth

During the first stage, regular uterine contractions begin and become more frequent as her delivery gets closer. Your dog may vomit and she may begin to discharge clear, mucoid fluid from her vagina.

The second stage begins when the bitch’s abdomen starts contracting hard and pushing the puppies out. She will either lie down or squat to deliver her pups.

Normal deliveries usually begin within ten to sixty minutes of the onset of hard contractions. The puppies may be born in their amniotic sac, and your bitch will immediately begin to break the bag, clean her babies and chew through the umbilical cord.

If she doesn’t, you will need to step in to make sure the puppies are freed from the sac and breathing properly. Once the babies are dried off, the cord can be carefully tied off and snipped so the mother can continue to care for her new babies.

The final stage of whelping involves delivery of the placenta, or afterbirth, for each puppy. The placenta may or may not still be attached to the pup. The bitch may attempt to eat her placenta, which sounds gross but is quite normal behavior.

If she doesn’t want to eat it, that’s fine too, there’s no specific nutritional value in it.

Newborns may attempt to suckle their mother during her delivery. This is a good thing because it stimulates the production of oxytocin. This hormone helps the uterus to contract and speeds up delivery of any remaining pups.

Keep a close watch on your bitch, so she doesn’t accidentally lie on her newborns as she delivers the rest of her litter. What I normally do is separate them until she is done with the delivery.

If your bitch has a fresh bloody discharge from the vagina, a rise in rectal temperature beyond 102 degrees, or hard contractions that don’t produce a puppy for more than thirty minutes, contact your veterinarian immediately.

If your bitch becomes depressed or exhausts herself to the point where she stops delivering, she may need a cesarean section to deliver her litter.

The birthing process can be long and arduous for both dog and owner. By being prepared for any eventuality before your bitch gives birth will help make the process as stress-free as possible.

Post whelping dogs

After a mother dog (bitch) whelps her puppies, you need to make sure that both the newborns and their mother are doing well.

Here are some tips on what to expect and what you should do to care for the new family.

Within twenty-four hours of birth, have the pups and mother checked by a veterinarian to check for signs of congenital defects in the pups, such as cleft palates or limb deformities. He will also make sure the bitch’s mammary glands are producing enough milk for her babies.

He may administer an injection of oxytocin to start the uterus contracting and shrinking back to pre-pregnancy size. This will also reduce any bleeding from where the placentas were attached, and help expel any remaining material from the uterus.

Your bitch may continue to have some discharge for up to eight weeks after birthing babies. But as long as it doesn’t smell or look foul, you don’t have to be alarm.

Keep an eye on the new mother to make sure that she is caring for all her puppies and knows what to do with them. The first-time mother might become aggressive or confused over their role. She might also lie on her puppies, accidentally crushing them.

New mothers will also need good nutrition to feed her pups, so small, frequent meals are a great idea. Her milk production will reach its peak at around three weeks after birth. She will be especially hungry now, so feed her puppy food for a few weeks.

Puppy food has more energy per ounce than regular adult dog food so she can get plenty of nutrients without over filling her stomach. You will also need to weight the newborn puppies regularly to confirm they are growing and getting enough milk.

Watch for any signs of mastitis. Red, swollen, or painful mammary glands are the classic signs, but mom may also be lethargic, feverish and off her food.

Another potentially dangerous condition is metritis, an infection and inflammation of the uterus usually caused by a long or especially difficult labor.

If the mother starts to pant, tremble, or have seizures, she may be suffering from a calcium deficiency called eclampsia, which is a serious condition that needs immediate attention and treatment. It’s more common in smaller breeds of dogs and tends to occur when pups are two to five weeks of age. This is when they’re growing fast, and drinking lots of milk.

Mom puts lots of calcium into her milk, which leaves her deficient. A vet must treat eclampsia quickly because it can be fatal. Treatment is intravenous calcium supplement, and mom may also need sedation to stop the seizures. If your bitch develops eclampsia it’s usually a good idea to wean the pups and hand raise them.

In the majority of cases, moms and pups do just fine and don’t need human intervention. Even so, be sure to keep a good eye on them so if a problem develops, you can get on top of it straight away. This will ensure the best outcome for mom and babies.

How to care for newborn puppies

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Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Australian_Shepherd_puppies.jpg

Congrats for having your newborn puppies. Now the real work begins. You need to make sure they receive the proper care from their mother. Keeping them warm and well-fed to maintain their growth and development.

The first thing new puppies need is a warm environment. Their first few weeks should be spent in a confined area that stays around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If the area around the whelping box isn’t warm enough, you can place a heating pad or hot water bottle in one corner. This will allow the pups to find a temperature they prefer. Or, move the pups and their mom to a warmer part of your home.

Like babies, puppies are completely helpless when they are born. They are blind and deaf, their bodies cannot regulate their own temperature, and they need to be stimulated to learn how to urinate and defecate on their own.

Their body temperature will gradually increase over the first three weeks to a normal adult temperature of 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s so important that the babies get the first milk, or colostrum, from their mother.
This milk contains antibodies that can only be absorbed during their first twenty-four hours after birth. It helps to protect the newborns from disease during their first few weeks.

If your pups are tiny or weak, they may need your help to latch on to the nipple.
The mom will do her best to keep them clean in the beginning, but as the pups grow, you’ll need to change the newspapers in the whelping box more regularly.

The pups need to be monitored closely and weighed regularly to ensure they are getting enough nutrition. In some cases, the mother may need to receive medication from a veterinarian to increase their milk production, or you may need to supplement their diet with formula.

After four weeks, they will be ready to start nibbling on soft food like puppy porridge or mince. The puppies will need to be dewormed every two weeks for the first twelve weeks of life, and these babies will also need their first vaccinations when they are between six and eight weeks old.

This protects them from viral diseases like Hepatitis, Parvovirus, and Distemper. Your veterinarian can recommend a vaccination program for your pups, depending on where you live and the disease risk in your area.

After three or four weeks, the puppies can be handled gently by people to get them used to human contact. Let them rub alcohol or sanitizer before they do.

At around five weeks of age their teeth will start coming through the gums, and at this point, their mom will start to wean them. Most pups will still nurse from mom until they are seven and eight weeks old. It is important to keep litter mates and the mother together until then, so the puppies learn how to communicate and interact with other dogs.

Pups who are taken from their litter mates too early may develop antisocial behaviors because they haven’t had this opportunity to learn dog body language.

Sometimes humans are required to act as surrogate mothers for newborn puppies, so it helps to understand their needs and what the mother does to help them grow and thrive. If the bitch neglects or abandons a puppy, you are its only hope for survival.

You’ll need to feed them regularly with formula and keep them warm.  You also need to gently wipe their bottom with a moist cotton ball to stimulate them to go to the toilet. Raising orphan puppies is a lot of work and tiring but it’s so worthwhile.

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