Health Check Before Breeding Your K9

Posted: September 18, 2010 by at Breeding

It’s important that your dog and your bitch are in excellent health before they are bred. This will give you the best chance of a successful pregnancy and a healthy litter.

Both prospective parents should be up to date with routine vaccinations and parasite control before being mated. This includes protection from rabies, and treatment for fleas, heartworm and intestinal worms.

They should also have been tested for Brucellosis at least 30 days before you plan to put them together. Brucellosis is caused by a bacteria, and can be spread between dogs during mating. In the bitch, it can lead to infertility and abortion. Male dogs can develop a chronic inflammation of their testicles, which also makes them sterile.

Your male dog should have two normal testicles in his scrotum. Dogs with only one descended testicle are still able to breed, but this is a hereditary condition and one that you don’t want to pass on to his pups. Undescended testicles are at greater risk of becoming cancerous later in life.

If your dog has never fathered a litter, or he is getting older, you may want to have a sperm count done to make sure he is producing enough viable sperm for conception to occur.

Female dogs have a lot of work to do; pregnancy, childbirth and lactation are hard on their body. Your bitch should be in good body condition before she is mated, but make sure she isn’t overweight. This may lead to difficulties in whelping.

Some breeders have a vaginal examination done on their bitch before she is bred, to identify any strictures or tissue bands that may get in the way of a normal mating.

In Summary – While in most cases, your dogs will mate successfully and deliver a healthy litter of puppies, these pre-breeding checks are useful. They identify any potential problems that may prevent conception, interfere with the pregnancy or cause problems with delivery. You can then take steps to deal with them, and increase your chances of a successful outcome.