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So you’re thinking of breeding your Pet Dog


Things you need to know before breeding your dog.



So please think long and hard before you decide to breed your pet.



This is a summary of things that I have found necessary to keep records of when breeding.


Always speak to your veterinarian about any concerns you may have concerning your dog.

Your Veterinarian is your best source of information.

This is only a guideline of some of the things you will need to do if you breed your dog.



·         Your bitch will need a complete physical examination done by your veterinarian to make sure her needles are up to date and that she is in good physical and emotional health.  You will also need a Brucellosis test done on her.  Brucellosis is a canine venereal disease and you would not want to pass this on to the stud.


·         Breeders require that the bitch be CKC or AKC registered.  There is a stud fee which is usually paid at the first visit to the breeder for service.  A stud fee only guarantees that the two dogs will consummate the union.  This is not a guarantee of puppies being produced, although many breeders will have a clause in their contract that will allow you a repeat breeding, on the bitch’s next heat if no puppies are produced.  If no puppies result from the next breeding you are out the stud fee in most cases.  Other breeders require that you give them the pick puppy of the litter instead of a stud fee. That means that they get the puppy of their choice.  There are also many variations of these contracts.

·         When picking a stud for your bitch, make sure that the stud has been checked by a veterinarian.  This will ensure that he is in good physical and emotional health. 


You want the puppies to start out with the best health conditions possible



Now that both dogs have been cleared by the veterinarian you can begin keeping records of the event.




·         Name of the Sire and registration number (CKC / AKC)

·         Name of the Dame and registration number (CKC / AKC)

·         Date of matings (e.g. May 5/99, May 7/99, May 9/99)

·         Interval between each heat cycle

·        Record appointments with your veterinarian to monitor the bitch’s progress.


You will also need to keep track of the dates of:


·         Heat cycle began

·         Vaginal smears taken and the evaluation of the smear

·         First breeding, and any subsequent breeding

·         Heat cycle ended

·         Due date

·         Date to palpate (day 26 to 35)



Once you are sure she is pregnant you will need to keep records of:


·         Results of palpation (number of eggs felt)

·         Make arrangements to x-ray (day 55 to 58) and record results (how many pups seen)

·         Eating habits during pregnancy

·         When and what supplements were given if any (e.g. hard boiled egg, cottage cheese, liver)

·         Switch to puppy kibble and slightly increase amount of food.

·         If you feed one meal a day add an extra meal.

·         If you feed twice a day slightly increase one of the meals.

·         Record weight gain weekly

·         Record bitches temperature starting 10 days before pups are due.

·         General notes on the pregnancy, (bitch’s mood, activity level appetite)


If you are registering the litter contact the CKC for a litter registration form



Preparations for whelping


Make sure that you have a quiet place ready for her to whelp her puppies.


You will need:


A quiet corner for the whelping, free of drafts and activity.

A whelping box big enough for the bitch and her puppies to live in for the first few weeks.

The box should be big enough that the bitch can stretch out comfortably and be able to be entered without the bitch having to jump in or out, yet high enough that the pups cannot crawl out accidentally.

Newspaper for the delivery.  Place the newspaper on the bottom of the whelping box to absorb the liquid during whelping.

Remove soiled papers as needed and replace with fresh ones.


1.        Old towels or blankets to place under the puppies.  These should be changed twice daily to keep the whelping box clean and dry.

2.        A heat lamp to keep the pups warm. They need to be kept at 85 degrees for the first week.  Reducing by 5 degrees weekly after the first 7 days, reaching 70 degrees by six to eight weeks of age.

3.        Clock for recording times of birth.

4.        Note pad for notes

5.        Food scale to weigh pups

6.        A thermometer for taking bitch’s temperature

7.        Surgical gloves to wear in case you have to help deliver the puppies.

8.        Hemostat forceps to crush the umbilical cords

9.        Sterile scissors for cutting the umbilical cords

10.     Dental floss or thread to tie the umbilical cords to stop bleeding

11.     Betadine to sterilize the umbilical cords

12.     Quick stop powder to stop bleeding of umbilical cords

13.     Clean rags or face cloths to wipe down the puppies

14.     Bulb syringe to clear out the nose and mouth of pups that need assistance

15.     Trashcan for soiled newspapers and placentas etc.



Things you will need to do:


1.        Contact CKC for a litter registration application

2.        Write a sales contract

3.        Put together a pedigree for the litter

4.        Prepare advertisement for expected litter

5.        Take puppy reservations.  Only one person should do this as to avoid any confusion about the potential buyers.



Once you know for sure that the bitch is pregnant


·         Notify the people on your puppy list of the due date.

·         Make sure your car has been gassed up at all times in case of emergency

·         Keep the veterinarians number handy and the phone number of people willing to come and assist you should you need help.

·         Arrange for someone to be available in case you need a drive to the veterinarians if complications occur.

·         You will need to be with your bitch to comfort her, and not driving the vehicle if possible.



Ten Days to go


·         10 days before due date, begin taking her temperature twice daily a.m. and p.m.  Preferably 12 hours apart.

·         At this time put the whelping box out and have her sleep in it so she will be use to it by the time the puppies arrive.

·         When her temperature drops from (101 normal temperature) to 99 or below, delivery usually occurs within 8-12 hours.

·         Call your veterinarian when labor begins to let them know.  They will be aware of her situation in case they are needed.



The Big Day


More Records to keep


·         to protect the pups for the first few weeks of life.



Once the puppies have arrived:


·         Take the pups and bitch to the Veterinarian within 24 hours for a complete check-up to make sure they are all healthy.

·         The Vet will check the pups for cleft palates and make sure they are all healthy.

·         The Vet will check the bitch to make sure no puppies have been retained.

·         You must check the bitch for any discharge.

·         Discharge should be reddish or reddish brown.

·         Greenish discharge is ok on the first day.

·         Contact your Vet if the discharge is green or black after day 1.


Caring for the bitch after whelping


·         Make sure the bitch is eating.  If she is fussy give her chicken broth or her favorite food.

·         She must eat and drink every day.  The puppies will be making greater demands of her resources each day.

·         She should eat three full meals a day.  It may take a day or two for her appetite to come back.

·         You will increase the amount of food as the pups grow and make greater demands on her.

·         Make sure she goes outside to relieve herself, she may hesitate to leave her pups but you must make her.

·         Check discharge color regularly for signs of infection.

·         Check mammary glands several times daily.  Check for hardness, pussy discharge, caking (signs of mastitis).



Record of each pup


·         Keep daily records of the puppies weight and development.



·         Temperament when picked up and held

·         Eyes opened

·         Ears opened

·         Stood on all four paws

·         Walked

·         Played with litter mates

·         Played with toys

·         Climbed out of whelping box

·         First aware of surroundings

·         Trimmed nails

·         Attempts to relieve itself off of pad (in papered area)

·         Teeth erupted

·         First feeding of puppy mush

·         First grooming session and how it went




1.        Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook / Delbert G. Carlson, D.V.M.  and James M. Giffin, M.D., Howell Book House

2.        Canine Reproduction / Phyllis A Hoist, MS , D.V.M., Alpine Publications



Prepared by Karen Whitty