Consultation prior to breeding

When does a female dog have her first estrous (heat) cycle?

Dogs will have their first estrous (reproductive or heat) cycle when they reach puberty. Each cycle consists of several stages; the stage called estrus refers to when the female can become pregnant. Often a dog that is in the estrus stage is said to be in heat or in season.

On average, puberty (or sexual maturity) is reached at about six months of age, but this can vary by breed.

Most dogs come into heat twice per year, or about every six months, although the interval can vary between breeds and from dog to dog. Small breed dogs may cycle three times per year, while giant breed dogs may only cycle once every 12 months

Generally the vaccination and deworming records need s to be checked at this consultation. We use to give vaccination and deworming if any due falls ahead of 2 months. At first, the discharge is very bloody, but as the days pass, it thins to become watery and pinkish-red in color.

Monitoring heat

What are the signs of estrus?

The earliest sign of estrus is swelling or engorgement of the vulva, but this swelling is not always obvious. In many cases, a bloody vaginal discharge is the first sign that a pet owner will notice when their dog comes into heat.

How long does estrus last?

Estrus is the stage when the dog can become pregnant. Although this can vary with each individual, on average a dog will be in heat for 1 ½ to 2 weeks but this can be shorter or longer.

What is the best time for mating?

In routine, Breeders use to breed the dog at 9, 11, and 13 th days. Since estrus in bitch vary from 2 to 22 days it is better to breed the bitch based on scientific tests. Vaginal cytology is done to find out the estrus in bitch and progesterone assay is done to find out the time of ovulation.

The time of mating is extremely critical and it is highly recommended that you have your female tested to determine the optimal days for breeding. This will improve your chance of success.

Consultation to confirm pregnancy

We highly recommend that your bitch is examined by a veterinarian when pregnant. The vet may recommend an ultrasound from day 30 to confirm live puppies (but not necessarily numbers). An x-ray from day 49 (7 weeks) is recommended to give an indication of the number of puppies to expect (but cannot indicate the number of live puppies).

If it is conformed as pregnant, increase her food amount during the last 4 weeks of pregnancy, to a high quality puppy food, as this contains higher amounts of nutrients and energy; it may need to be divided into frequent small meals and increased by at least 1.5 times her normal

Assistance during parturition


Mating, Gestation and Whelping of the Bitch are all important steps to manage to ensure healthy puppies as an outcome. Pregnancy in the bitch lasts about 63-65 days (and ranges between 60 and 67 days). Estimation is based on mating dates but if smears or blood tests are done the estimation is more accurate.

Call us if : Greater than 70 days of gestation have passed.

Canine parturition/whelping occurs in 3 stages. The first stage is when the uterus begins to contract and cause the cervix to dilate. Stage one can last 6 to 12 hours in the dog. Signs that you may see in the female are restlessness, panting, pacing, or “nesting”  type behaviour

Your bitch may also exhibit restlessness, nesting behavior and lack of appetite for 12-24 hours before parturition starts. There are three stages of the birth process:

Stage 1: 6-12 hours. Panting, restlessness, onset of contractions. Body temperature drops 1-1 1/2 degrees. (Usually below 100F)

Call us if The temperature drop occurred more than 24 hours ago and there is no sign of labour.

Stage 2: 2-4 hours. Contractions and expulsion of fetus. Pups come every 10-30 minutes – often two will be born in a short period of time, then the bitch will rest for 45 minutes to an hour. Allow the bitch to break the cords and clean all the puppies. She may want to eat the placentas. This is normal, but not necessary. Do not allow her to eat more than 2 or 3, or an upset stomach is likely. Count to be sure there is a placenta for each pup.

Call us IF:

  • Immediately if a puppy is ‘stuck’ in the birth canal.
  • Active contractions go for 30 minutes with no pup born.
  • There is more than 2 -3 hours between pups.
  • 40 minutes of straining without puppy
  • Bitch showing signs of exhaustion with puppies remaining

Stage 3: Expulsion of remaining placentas and uterine involution.

Call us if  12 hours go by without expulsion of all the placentas (retained placenta).

Handle the newborn pups as little as possible for the first few days. Do not allow other dogs in the nesting area. Keep the number of people visiting to an absolute minimum, and do not allow them to touch the pups for the first 3-4 weeks to avoid disease transmission. A number of behaviours may be exhibited by bitches prior to whelping including; restlessness, lack of appetite, nesting, panting, excessive urination, clinginess, these are variable and some bitches may show no changes.

After Care

The mother and her litter should be examined by a veterinarian 1-3 days after the delivery is completed.  This visit is to check the mother for complete delivery, and to check the new-born puppies.  The mother may receive an injection to contract the uterus and stimulate milk production. Sometimes antibiotics may be prescribed if it is thought there is any infection present.

The mother may have a bloody vaginal discharge for 3-7 days following delivery.  If it continues for longer than one week or she develops a pus like or smelly discharge consult your veterinarian.

  • Serious complications that can occur after whelping include:
  • Metritis (inflammation of the uterus).
  • Eclampsia (dangerously low levels of calcium in the blood due to the high demands of lactation)
  • Mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands)
  • Agalactia (not producing milk)