TO BREED OR NOT TO BREED
All about breeding dogs, from step one
Constantly we hear that breeding dogs is almost a crime, actually some do believe it is criminal. Before you think of breeding your dogs, there are very real issue of ethics, health and logistics. Being a responsible dog owner is the duty of all dog owners. The question of WHY you want to breed your dogs, need to be studied. A purpose of getting some cute puppies, or it will be educational for the kids to be involved, are not valued as a good reason to breed. Are you willing to risk your dog to breeding complications, or health issues with the pups.What will you do with these puppies after they are born. Realize the amount of work and time involved with puppy rearing. Where will you keep mom and babies; do you have a list of homes for the pups. The world does not need unwanted puppies. Be serious, and
Assuming you are deciding to breed for all the correct reasons, first understanding cycle and process is a necessity. A Female dog (bitch), should not be bred on her first cycle or heat. Her bone growth and physical development should be complete, before the stress of motherhood should be attempted. Be very cautious during that first heat to not let her be with a male as it is a strong urge to breed when the time is right.
The females heat cycle starts with swelling of the vulva. It is a noticeable increase in size. You may notice her licking herself, then you will notice blood spots. The bleeding may be light or it can be more profuse. There are little sanitary belts or panties to prevent stains in the house, but blankets or sheets on your furniture will work also. A dog’s heat is NOT the same as women’s menstruation. Humans are flushing out the uterus if there is no pregnancy, while a dog is preparing for pregnancy. At this point the female is not fertile, a mistake often made. Majorly the bleeding goes on for seven to ten days. It is usually on the tenth to fourteenth day after bleeding starts, that she is fertile( eggs are being released by her ovaries). At this point, she will be receptive to the male. Previously she is not too “sweet”, snapping at him if he tries to mount her. She will start “flagging” when she is ready for the male. Flagging is the moving of her tail to ease the breeding; nature is wonderful. The male will mount her from behind, wrapping his front legs around her; she should accept his advances now. After a bit of practice runs, he will penetrate her. This is not the end. When he has thrust deeply enough, her vaginal walls will clamp onto his penis, and they become “locked”. It is best they be supervised or one may hurt the other’s sexual organs while they are in this position.Starting with them facing the same direction, they most often twist around and head the opposite direction. I have heard of owners throwing water on them to try to separate them. It is safer and more beneficial to the mating to be with them until they disconnect naturally.This may take ten minutes to an hour. Keep other dogs away, and this may not be suitable for young children. Generally once they locked she should become pregnant, but having made the proper decision to breed, it would be wise to repeat the breeding every other day for two more times.
Gestation, or the length of time it takes from mating to birth, is around 60-64 days, Mark it on the calendar and count the days. The first 30 days may seem like nothing has happened. Some females change personality a little, wanting to be closer to female members in the house, resting a little more often, and urinating more often. The last half of the pregnancy, will be full of changes. Visually her body changes almost daily.Her food portions should be increased by 25% now, and 25% more each week. The food should be healthy, natural with probiotics. Her belly will become bigger, her teats will start filling with milk. Massage her milk glands to attempt to avoid mastitis. Mastitis is not only extremely painful for the bitch, but can infect her so badly she will need surgery or hospitalization. In either event you will be doing bottle feeding each pup, every two hours. Be sure to check her out daily after the birth(whelping).
During the pregnancy, a whelping box should be purchased or built. The box should be square or rectangular with enough space for the dog to lay out straight and and nurse comfortably, and big enough for the pups as they grow. They will need to nurse up to eight weeks or more, depending on the breed. This box should have sides high enough so as to keep the pups in as they start walking.Along each wall should be “pig rails”. the object is to protect the pups if mom should roll on them. These rails must be at least 5 inches wide and up from the bottom by about five or six inches. If there are multiple dogs in the house, it might be wise to separate her into another room, or use a sturdy pen around the box. Precision Pets have a very nice Courtyard pen that fits the bill.
The big day has arrived! She will be looking for a “nest”. Put her into the whelping box on towels or blankets. Heavy brown wrapping paper to line the bottom, as there will be blood. She will try to get comfortable but will pace. Her breathing will be rapid and irregular. The contractions become obvious, as she get closer to time. Some dogs stand, some lay down, but it is an amazing thing to see how she will (normally) birth with little assistance.When she pushes out the pup ,the head will be out most often first. The pup will be in a sack of blood and fluid. She will push it out, turn and break the pup out of the placenta. Quickly she will clean the pup, bite the umbilical cord, and then lick the pup to initiate breathing and eat the placenta. She should be carefully watched during whelping not to step on a pup when she is having another. Check all pups for respiration, nasal passages clear, and not being laid upon.Puppies can not see nor hear for the first week to two. The ear canals are not even developed until then. Be certain each pup can find a nipple to start nursing.Change the bedding and clean the box. Keep the new “Nursery” clean at all times.Mom will stimulate the pups to pass waste by licking them until the pups evacuate the bowels and bladder. She “disposes” of the waste herself. Mom needs to eat well and often, be sure she stays strong, which will make the pups strong.
This picture shows a whelping box with pig rails, and pups at a few days old. The second picture shows them at 3 ½ weeks.
BE A RESPONSIBLE BREEDER, THESE ARE LIVES, NOT AMUSEMENT.