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Dog Breeders’ Best Tips And Tricks

We asked breeders, what are your best tips and tricks:

  • Keep your females fit and in good shape. A very slightly overweight girl will get pregnant easier and keep puppies better in my opinion. 
  • If you are trying to bring your girl into heat there is nothing better than the company of another female that is in heat or an intact male. A veterinarian will also be able to help if these fail.
  • Lots of sunshine and outside time will help bring your girls in heat.
  • Get all shots ( vaccinations ) up to date as well as worming and dental care before the breeding bitch comes in heat.
  • Keep good notes on your breeding female’s seasons. It is much easier to predict and plan for matings and puppies. 
  • Start your breeding females on quality folic acid and vitamin E supplement well before she comes in heat. 
  • Always progesterone test to determine ovulation. So much easier when you can pinpoint the whelping day.
  • Right breeding time is so so important! Test for LH-surge or ovulation with progesterone test.
  • The time LH-surge and ovulation can and will vary greatly between bitches and even on the same bitch on different seasons. Only trusting signs of LH-surge or ovulation might make you miss, best to test the progesterone. 
  • Book your vet pregnancy scans for later rather than earlier. You can use a pregnancy test, relaxin hormone test, before. You can confirm first and then do a puppy count later. 
  • Oftentimes, if she looks very pregnant early on it is a phantom pregnancy. 
  • False pregnancy can fool you so easily. Always test to avoid disappointment.
  • I like to have a veterinarian perform a pregnancy X-ray at the end of gestation period as well as an ultrasound scan earlier.
  • A good reproduction vet is worth their weight in gold. They will be able to tell you whether there are good strong heartbeats and if the embryos look good and healthy during gestation.  
  • I like to keep a calendar. 1 week from mating is time for the Herpes jab. 4 weeks test to see if she is pregnant. 6 weeks deworming and 7 – 8 weeks another Herpes jab and X-ray to see how many puppies to expect. 
  • After mating comes the time to keep your female happy, healthy and stress free. Avoiding altercation, infection, stress and keeping her well fed and rested is important. 
  • Red nipples seem to be the first sign often. An old fellow breeder calls them candy corn nipples! Morning sickness is another, especially on the days of implantation.
  • Count days from ovulation not mating! Knowing when she has carried to term is important. 
  • You can start checking for temperature drop around a week prior to the due date to see when she is giving birth. Or take a reverse progesterone.
  • Have an extra pair of hands to help with whelping if you are not experienced. Make plans with a vet in case the birthing does not move on naturally. Car ready and fuelled up. 
  • Puppies will make all the work worthwhile!