For successful reproduction, the best time to breed a dog is when it is ovulating. But how do you know for sure that she is ovulating?
There are canine ovulation tests that you can perform to determine your female dog’s most fertile period.
In this article, we’ll discuss the role of three reproductive hormones in the ovulation period and how they can help you get your dog pregnant.
First, let’s talk about your dog’s heat cycle.
Canine Heat Cycle
The heat cycle of a female dog has two stages, each lasting 9 days on average: the proestrus and the estrus stage.
● Proestrus Stage
When a dog is in heat, it typically refers to the proestrus stage. This is when most owners will begin to notice changes.
This stage usually lasts 9 days, however, it can last anywhere from 0 to 27 days. Male canines will be attracted to the female at this time, but she will not be responsive.
Estrogen levels will peak, and follicles will begin to form. The vulva is frequently enlarged and there will be bloody discharge.
● Estrus Stage
The female in the estrus stage is receptive to the male. Based on behavioral clues, this stage also lasts an average of 9 days, but it can be anywhere from 4 to 24 days.
During this time, the fertile phase occurs. The vulva is still enlarged but has softened a little. There is also less discharge.
Estrogen levels are decreasing, while progesterone levels are increasing.
Because the eggs are only viable for two to three days of the heat cycle even though the entire heat cycle may last up to three weeks, timing your dog’s mating is important.
When it comes to successful conception, timing is everything. Here are the hormones that can help determine your dog’s exact ovulation period.
Estrogen has the effect of making a female dog more receptive to mating. Estrogen levels rise four to twenty days before ovulation, causing vulval enlargement, vaginal changes, and bleeding.
Estrogen does not cause ovulation in dogs, and estrogen levels can only give you a basic idea of when your dog will be fertile.
● Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
Ovulation is triggered by the luteinizing hormone or LH. LH levels will stay near 0 for a while before spiking and then dropping again. This is followed by ovulation two days later.
The eggs must then mature for two days to be ready for fertilization. Again, these eggs will only last for two to three days.
So, the LH peak occurs on day zero, and the eggs can be fertilized four to seven days later. The dog will be unable to conceive once this time is over.
The most accurate way to tell whether your dog is ovulating is to test for LH levels. However, because LH levels are only raised for 18 hours, it’s still best to use another ovulation test.
Progesterone is likewise low at first, then abruptly rises, indicating that ovulation is approaching. Progesterone levels typically remain high for eight to nine weeks before declining.
Testing for this hormone is considered the most reliable way of predicting ovulation.
The initial spike in progesterone occurs within a day or two after the LH increases, indicating that your dog is in her most fertile period.
When the dog ovulates, the progesterone level drops to five, then rises to eight to twelve when the eggs are developed.
So if you’re planning to breed your dog, get a canine ovulation test for your dog.
Get Your Canine Ovulation Test Done
Even experienced breeders struggle to determine the best time for dogs to mate. This is because some dogs ovulate as early as day five of their cycle while others ovulate as late as day twenty-five.
Timing is everything when it comes to canine reproduction. If you’re serious about breeding, get your in-house tests from MR Diagnostic Services, your one-stop shop for breeding technology.
Check out their progesterone testing kits and other breeding tools on their website today.