Successful bitch-crossing results in healthy pups that carry the desirable traits you love in the parent dogs. For a first-time breeder, mating your bitch successfully requires you to understand her heat cycle, especially if she is about to have her first litter. This will help you know when it’s the best time to find her a suitable mate.
Examine your dam
The first thing you want to do is find out if your bitch is strong enough, health-wise, to birth her own litter. As a rule of thumb, never mate your female dog until she is at least 2 years and has undergone her first two heat cycles. This is because a dam that is 2 years or below is not mature enough to take care of puppies.
In older dogs, the fertility cycle grows more irregular the more they age. Your dog will still be fertile but crossing her will require some extra attention on your part. Also, your dog should stop breeding once they reach five years of age. At this age they no longer have the strength to take care of newborns.
Also, you want your dam to have the correct weight for childbearing. A bitch that is too thin most likely does not have enough nutrients in her to feed her unborn litter. On the other hand, a dam cannot carry a pregnancy to full term if she is overweight. Moreover, it is possible for complications to develop during birth if your dam is overweight.
Understand her cycle
A dog’s fertility or estrus cycle goes through four stages; pro-estrus, estrus, met-estrus, and anestrus. Understanding these stages lets you know when its right to find your bitch a mate.
The first stage, the pro-estrus cycle, prepares the dam of ovulation. This period lasts for about 6 to 7 days and is marked by your dam swelling and bleeding from her vulva. This is the time to start finding a suitable mate for your dam. However, note that the dam will not mate with the male until the
The second stage, estrus cycle, lasts 7 days. At this point, the dam is no longer bleeding heavily and will start to be more welcoming to her potential suitors. This is the point you have to be very vigilant about who your bitch mates with. If need be, isolate the dam in a confined area where no male dog has access to. This keeps her safe until you find her a new mate
The third stage, metestrus, marks a period when your dam can no longer accept a mate. She has stopped ovulation and no discharge is coming out of her. Metestrus often goes along with anestrus which is the period when the dam is preparing for the next ovulation.
Find her a mate
Your pooch will be ready for mating as from the 9th or 10th (estrus stage) after her bleeding clears. You need to mate her continuously with the mate you have chosen for her.
With finding a mate, you want a male dog that carries physical and behavioral qualities you admire. A good mate should be strong, healthy, and has no history of medical issues. The potential mate should have an aesthetic color, be very friendly, and very adaptable to different living conditions among other things. The puppies will inherit all these traits from their parents.
One way to find a mate for your dog is by visiting a breeder. If possible, let your pooch accompany you so the breeder can evaluate her. From this meeting, the breeder will be able to recommend suitable mates depending on your dam’s physical attributes and personality.
Alternatively, let the suitor come to her. It could be a neighbor’s or breeder’s sire whose qualities you admire.
Signs of pregnancy
In the first week of pregnancy, your dam experienced morning sickness which may be in the form of vomiting or feelings of lethargy. Her hormone levels go up so as to prepare her body for pregnancy. Your pooch will also lose her appetite which is a good time to reduce her normal rations to avoid wastage.
Another change that will happen is on her moods. She may withdraw herself from everyone as she undergoes these changes. Alternatively, your dam may become more clingy and needy towards you.
In the middle weeks of pregnancy, her appetite abruptly comes back. Restore her normal rations and ensure she is getting plenty of healthy supplements. By this time her enlarging belly will be fully noticeable and her nipples will be big. As the pregnancy grows, your dog’s spine will lower slightly making the backbone more pronounced. It may be hard to notice the belly in large dog breeds, however, over-sized nipples are always a tell-tale sign of pregnancy.
For the final week before giving birth, the dam grows exceedingly restless. She will start to make her own nursing nest by using rags or cardboard pieces for warmth. Help the dam by finding her a nice, quiet, and warm place to give birth to her litter. Ensure she has plenty of warm blankets and less disturbance during this period. Moreover, this is not the time to start moving her to a different area especially if she is a week or a few days due.
Preparing your dam for whelping
Your female dog will need to consume a high-quality diet right from when they are pregnant to when they whelp. Feed your dam with foods rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. In addition, ensure your pooch is getting minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and niacin in her diet. This nourishes her puppies while still in the womb.
If you are not sure whether the dam is getting all these nutrients in her food, then fortify her diet with healthy pet supplements. Canine supplements like Bullyade contain all the proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals your pooch would need to stay healthy. Bullyade also contains electrolytes that help with physiological processes like boosting the immune system.
Treat your dam for any underlying diseases prior to giving birth. Since she cannot move much, you may have to consider vet hiring services. A professional vet will visit your home and diagnose the bitch for any underlying infections. It ensures your pooch does not pass infections or diseases to her unborn puppies.
Finally, prepare a whelping pen for her. Ensure there is more blankets for her and her new puppies. Continue feeding her a healthy diet and do not forget the healthy supplements she requires to stay healthy and pass her immunity to her puppies.