While the bitch will naturally take care of the litter’ need in the few weeks after birth, it is however the indisputable responsibility of the dog breeder to provide both the bitch and her puppies with a dry, safe and warm place along with food and water.
Things may easily get more challenging if the puppies become orphaned or the bitch runs out of milk to feed her puppies.
It becomes even more interesting when the puppies are weaned. A lot of hours and even money goes into the extra feeding, grooming, vet care, cleanup and training.
The financial implication of all of these may easily get bigger than one would have anticipated particularly if you are dealing with lots of puppies and/or if complications arise.
If you want to ensure that your puppies continue to experience at the minimum the same level of love and devotion that you have showed to them while under your care, then you will have to carefully screen and evaluate the would-be new owners. This requires some commitment.
Part of the commitment required of a dog breeder in ensuring that the puppies end up in the right homes would involve sharing the pros and cons of owning that breed of dog with the prospective owners.
Letting them know why a dog breed that will require lots of training or special attention being paid to her coat may not be ideal for workaholic or while a family with little, active children will not be the best fit for a tiny dog.
The bottom line is that as a responsible breeder you should strive to place your puppies in homes where they will get the best care.
Important factors to consider when choosing a breeding mate for your bitch
- This is perhaps the most important dog breeding info to keep in mind: always choose a mate that will complement the weaknesses of your bitch. Remember the motto: “breeding to improve”.
- Choose a mate whose bloodline will strengthen the weaknesses of your bitch and enhance her good qualities.
- With the assistance of experience breeder or some other aid you should avoid a breeding mate of questionable temperament.
- Because dogs suffer from a lot of heredity defects, you should therefore ensure that you produce dogs that will not suffer from any of the known health defect associated to your breed.
- A successful dog breeder will pay attention to the genetics of the breeding mate since your prospective puppies’ temperament, soundness, looks, health, etc. is determined by the genetics of their forbears. How knowledgeable you are will determine the quality of the litter your bitch will produce.
Health checks prior to breeding
- High quality puppies are produced long before the parents mate and this is determined by the long term health care giving to both the stud and the bitch. These include but not limited to the following:
- Regular vet checks.
- Regular pre-breeding checks.
- Genetic screening.
- Proper nutrition and you should ensure that your bitch is not overweight prior to breeding.
- Make sure the bitch takes her vaccination regularly.
- Ensure that she is checked for parasites and treated if need be.
- A thorough physical examination by the vet about a month before breeding.
Mating could occur naturally (in most cases it does) or through artificial insemination.
A knowledgeable and responsible breeder will use his understanding of the four periods of a bitch’s heat cycle and will therefore avoid breeding the bitch at the first heat in order not to impose the burden of lactation and pregnancy on a young and growing animal.
It is also important to avoid breeding the bitch on consecutive heats in order to allow enough time for the bitch to recuperate after the previous pregnancy.
During the first heat cycle of a bitch called the pro-estrus, her vulva gets swollen, she develops a bloody vagina and begin to attract males but she will not accept mating until the second heat cycle called estrus (by this time she is fertile).
Mating 2 or 3 times every other day is consider acceptable for the bitch as long as she accepts the stud.
If you cannot identify the pro-estrus of your bitch then you should have your vet perform hormone test on her in order to identify her peak fertile period.
Some dog breed may need assistance during mating due to the structure of their body.
After mating the bitch and the stud will get glued together in what is popularly referred to as a tie, this will naturally last for between 10 to 30 minutes, it is important that the breeder make no attempt to separate them as this may result in injury to the animals.
You can resort to artificial insemination if naturally breeding is impossible.
The bitch’s gestation and delivery
The first set of signs of a pregnant bitch includes an increase in weight, appetite the size of the nipple. However this is usually not sufficient so you should have your vet carry out a pregnancy test on her.
If pregnancy is confirmed then you should speak with your vet regarding the feeding requirement of the bitch.
Her food intake should only increase proportionally to her body weight. If you have been feeding her on a high quality and balanced diet, then you should have no need for any new addition to her diet during pregnancy. Otherwise you could supplement her diet with liver, evaporated milk, meat and eggs – all of these should not represent anything more than 10% of her daily food intake.
When your bitch stops eating and her body temperature drops this might be first sign that she is very close to labor.
Bitches easily give birth to their litter one after the other and take care of severing the umbilical cord and removing the placenta from the puppies.
The breeder should however take note that the number of placenta matches the number of puppies delivered because placenta that is held back by the bitch may cause her problems.
You will also have to sever the umbilical cord and remove the placenta if the bitch fails to do it.
In this article we have been able to go over the different stages required in dog breeding and have provided you with enough information on dog breeding that will enable you to a clearer picture of the dog breeding terrain before you embark on it.