Let me start off by saying that I think everyone should adopt and not shop for dogs. There are enough dogs are there that are in need of a good home and over-breeding has led to a lot of dogs being homeless and taken to the shelter to be put down. Encourage your friends and family to adopt a dog and help put an end to this high amount of dogs being euthanized. If your are going to breed, do so responsibly and not with the intent of making profit from puppies.
Breeding dogs is one of the many challenging endeavors dog lovers often undertake. It is can be time consuming and tedious, but once you lay your eyes on the little pups you’ve helped enter this world, it is all worth it. However, it can also cost you a fortune, so only go ahead with it if you are doing it out of love and not just for profit. If you’re keen to give it a go, there are a variety of things that need to be considered.
1. Choosing the right mate:
There are a few things you need to check dogs for before they mate. For this purpose, you need to have a great deal of information regarding the dog’s medical history, temperament, breed type as well as other health concerns. You need to take care of the following things specifically:
Age: It is highly recommended that male dogs are not bred until they are at least eighteen months old. As for females, you need to wait till they are on their second or third heat cycle, which usually occurs every six months.
Genetic diseases: It is essential you screen the dog for diseases like Wobbler Syndrome, hemophilia, epilepsy, skin disorders, mange and other diseases that can be inherited by the pups.
Reproductive problems: Reproductive problems in males can be fairly hard to treat. These may include low sperm count as well as infection in his reproductive parts.
Physical deformities: You need to make sure your dog is checked for deformities like an overshot jaw or any abnormality in the female’s mammary gland. If there are any physical deformities at all, it is wise not to have them breed.
Behavioral problems: Some dogs may express shyness, excessive aggression, a tendency to bite and other negative behavioral traits. It is better to decide against breeding them since these traits can be transmitted.
2. Preparing for the breeding:
Breeding a dog is both a science and an art. For the most part, you need to act with precision, for example, with the timing of breeding. For other things, you need to trust your instincts. Judging the behavior of the dogs and then bringing them closer is a part of that. Take care of the following things in particular:
Timing of breeding: Make sure you know when the female is in heat. Approximately 2 weeks after going into heat, she will be able to stand and hold. If you wish, you can judge the right time by her behavior, for example by observing changes in her temperament and her willingness when placed with the male. You can also ask your vet to conduct hormone tests to tell you what the ideal time is for breeding
The right environment: Try and conduct the mating at the male’s residence, since they are more likely to get uncomfortable than the female outside their natural surroundings. Make sure the area where you want them to mate has sufficient privacy and a good amount of space. The weather plays a role as well. Dogs are less likely to mate in extreme temperatures.
Getting the dogs ready: Mating is a natural process and does not require a whole lot of intervention from you. However, make sure the female gets a good amount of nutritious food before breeding. You need her to be healthy and happy during pregnancy. Place the two together in a comfortable environment so they can get used to each other. This may take an hour or two or even weeks. You cannot rush them if you want them to mate. Make sure you keep them calm and comfortable by talking politely to them.
3. Helping the breeding process:
You may observe the dogs having difficulties while breeding. You can help them overcome these using lubricants on the female’s reproductive organs. If the female is a virgin, make sure you make an extra effort in comforting her and calming her down.
Helping them get into position: The male will ideally mount the female and penetrate her from behind when mating. You may need to help them get in this position.
Limiting the amount of people: The dogs are likely to be reluctant to mate if there are a lot of people around. Ideally, only the owners of the dogs and if the vet, if needed, should be there to ensure the breeding process goes smoothly.
The tie: When the genitals of both the mates are tied, you need to ensure that neither of them pulls from one other. Failing to ensure this may lead to injury to either of the dog’s genitals. The tie shouldn’t ideally last for more than quarter of an hour.
Care directly after breeding: It is best advised that the female stays in her crate for the next few days, so as to avoid urinating often. As for the male, check from time to time if his penis has fully retreated into his sheath.
4. Be Ready For The Delivery:
With the big day approaching, you should have a whelping box ready for the birthing process. A whelping box is designed to protect puppies during birth, sort of like their crib. The box should be large enough for the female dog to lie down in and stretch out but not too large as to where the puppies can wonder off. A tip is to place layers newspaper on the bottom of the box so that when it becomes soiled, you can clean it up much easier and replace the newspaper and sheets.
The puppies will need to be kept warm when the are born so you should also place a heat lamp high enough to where it is out of contact, but will still warm the area. Your puppies will live in this box for about their first 4 weeks, so make sure its comfy and nice.
Fully educate yourself on the stages of labor so that you can better time the delivery date. Average gestation is about 58-68 days from the date of ovulation. Several indications that it may be the last week before delivery include: dropped abdomen, enlarged and softened vulva, enlarged nipples, and full mammary glands. Rectal temperatures will often drop to about 98 degrees within 24 hours of delivery. If you notice any abnormal vaginal bleeding, you should contact the vet immediately, as this could be a sign of abortion and the dog will need special care.
Prepare the female dog for labor by clipping the long hair from the underside of the abdomen (if there is any). This will allow the puppies to find the nipples easier. It is also advised to remove the female dog’s collar to avoid and choking hazards for the puppies.
Monitor her closely: Once the female dog is in labor, she must be monitored at all times. Only take her outside on a leash or make sure that you can keep her close by you. Bring towels just in-case a puppy and born and make sure to check the spot she urinated in for mucus, blood, or other discharge.
Delivery time has come and your dog is in labor. Your dog may get really anxious and restless during labor and may moan, whimper, and pant heavily. Get her to the whelping box and make sure that the area is quiet and preferably dim lighted. Prepare for a long day because the process can last up to 10 hours.
By looking at the female dogs stomach, you should be able to notice the uterine contractions becoming more intense. Once she delivers her first puppy, monitor the time for more contractions. There should be a 10-30 break in-between births, and if it exceeds 30 minutes, there may be a delivery complication.
The female dog will bite and break each puppies umbilical chord right after birth. But if there are any complications with this, clamp the cord between 2 hemostats and tear it or cut it. The puppies also come out covered in placenta, which the mother will lick off and eat (yummy, right?). However, you can assist the mother with this by gently rubbing the placenta off with a towel.
After delivery is completed, give the mother some fresh water and let her snack on something light and nutritious such as cottage cheese or plain yogurt.
Monitor the puppies carefully for the first 4 weeks. They should be clean, warm, and getting fed enough milk from their mother. Healthy puppies should display full bellies and be gaining weight, if you notice that any of them look skinny and sickly, contact your vet right away. After a month has passed, the puppies will need a larger area to roam around in. This area should be kept free from chocking hazards, well lit, and relatively quiet – just like a bigger version of their whelping box. Take the puppies to the vet when they are about 2 months old so that they can get a health check-up, as well as their first vaccinations.
Things to Remember
Breeding dogs can be rewarding and educational, but is something that you must be very responsible about. It takes careful planning and dedication and may be very costly. You must be a committed and responsible breeder. Make sure that you will be able to find enough homes for all of the puppies and do not breed with the intention of selling puppies for profit.
If you decide that breeding is for you and that you are prepared, then I wish the best of luck to you, your dog, and your future puppies. If you plan on giving your puppies up for adoption, make sure that you investigate and get to know their future owner a little bit so that you feel comfortable that they will be great match for the newborn.