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Important Considerations Before Dog Pregnancy

(Last Updated On: 31/01/2017)

Important Considerations before Dog Pregnancy

Dog pregnancy should be planned after many considerations. It is obvious that the owners are in love with their dogs which can cause bias of thinking of dogs having more qualities than in reality or overseeing the defects, resulting in problematic outcomes and undesired traits in the puppies. Thus, the best way to choose dogs for breeding is to ask a well-informed person to gauge the dogs in order to get an unbiased opinion of the qualities of the dam and the stud to avoid later complications.

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Health Check-up

When an owner plans to breed their bitch, they need to make sure that she is healthy. This is essential to ensure that the dam has an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery. In order to minimize complications one should wait before breeding until the bitch is fully mature, along with provision of proper dog health care over and above providing her with high quality, proper and suited diet that is rich in supplements.

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Before dog pregnancy, the owner should have the bitch checked for any parasites, possible or already occurring infections, and update the dog’s vaccinations. Take care not to give any vaccinations after the dam is confirmed bred, otherwise this might affect the puppies when those are in womb of the bitch, before birth, resulting in birth defects and pregnancy and delivery complications. It is best to get the dog’s health checked by the vet.

Dam Coming into Heat

The next and probably the most important part of breeding is the dam coming into heat cycle. The Dam will come into heat or instigate her estrus cycle approximately 3 days before she is ready for breeding. A dam that is into the heat is more or less ready to be bred.

Choice of Stud and the Dam

One should choose the Stud and Dam, and decide that if they hold the qualities that one has determined to be present in the offspring that will be expected after mating. The items that need special attention are:

Genetic Background

Bloodline of the dogs must be investigated to make sure that they have a good quality genetic makeup. It is necessary to make sure that both the dam and the male dog are free of any genetic flaws, are well made and possess a sound outlook. The bloodline of pure breeds can be obtained from AKC or any other registering authority. In case of “mixed breed” dogs, the only context one may be able to obtain is the type of Stud and Dam who birthed the dogs. Here the main purpose should be to determine that whether the genetic history of the selected mating partners will produce the puppies with the precise makings one is looking for. In order to preclude any genetic defects of “inbreeding”, one should make sure that the pair is not inter related.


The most important quality to look for is the temperament of the dog, which is passed on from the Stud and Dam to puppies and is essentially present in breeds which have aggressive tendencies, for example Doberman Pinschers and Rottweiler, so one must investigate the Stud and Dam’s temperaments and the temperament desired in the puppies before taking on the decision to breed.

Physical Characteristics

It must be made sure that the dogs have the physical traits that are desired for, with absence of any defects, disfigurements or detrimental qualities. An example can be looking for signs of “hip dysplasia”, while breeding Labrador Retrievers, which is a communal genetic problem with this breed that results in some notch of crippling and trouble in walking and running. This condition poses the Labrador less looked-for for hunting work etc.

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Signs of “Coming into Heat”

Dog pregnancy starts with the heat cycle. The first sign that the female (dam) has come “into heat” is usually swelling of her vulva. The time of swelling varies in different breeds, sometimes this engorgement may occur a week before the discharge, or sometimes a day before. Other cyphers of heat can be the behavioral vagaries, the dam may start to mound other dams, or pups or sometimes even the owner’s leg. The dam may also start licking itself a lot. Also, if there is a stud in a proximate pen, the identification of the beginning of the cycle will be easier. The genital area of the dam that has come into heat will start to swell and discharge, and will start to give a strong smell which will be reacted strongly to, by the stud.

Plus, if the owner owns more than one dam, naturally they will come into heat cycle together.

The owner needs to stand the dam up, and have a look at the vulva. The vulva will angle upwards and will change its position slightly so as to make it easier for the stud to penetrate into, also if a gloved finger is inserted, it will squeeze that finger inward. When a bitch ovulates, the dog will try to steed the males. The dam will have a very robust, discrete smell that the male dogs can smell that are even miles away. By this time, her discharge will have changed from bright red color to a pinkish or a more yellow color in some breeds.


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