Tips for Breeding Part 1

siberian_husky_puppies_31On the weekend I took a call from a man who had some questions regarding his 8 year old Red Heeler who was due to give birth any day.

He knew the gestation time, so had guessed she was due somewhere over the weekend give or take.

However, as our conversation progressed, it appeared that was about all he knew about dog pregnancy.

So, I thought I’d jot down some dot points over two parts for this blog about what I, as a Vet Nurse, know and maybe it might highlight something that may be of interest.

Needless to say, I’m not a Vet, and this list could go on for pages and pages – this isn’t meant to be a tutorial and don’t forget that your vet can answer all your questions and provide timely and accurate advice.  We’re here to help and we’d much prefer that you call us or make an appointment than rely on ‘Dr Google’ which we all know can be full of inaccuracies.

  • Time frames

Pregnancy (gestation period) in bitches normally ranges from 58 to 65 days.

  • Is she really pregnant?

Early pregnancy in dogs can be extremely difficult to detect.  Trans-abdominal palpation (feeling the abdomen for enlarged uterus) by a veterinarian at about three to four weeks after mating may be an option, but the results are variable.  Abdominal ultrasound is the most reliable and scans from one month after breeding should determine a successful pregnancy.  An abdominal x-ray during the last two weeks of pregnancy is the most accurate method for counting foetuses and ideally should be performed on all pregnant dogs.  Otherwise, you may not know when your female has finished having her puppies and this could lead to puppies remaining trapped when you think birthing has finished.

Part two will have some information regarding diet, planning and health care.