Determining the optimal mating time in dogs and cats

Every year, Dyrlægegruppen Dania helps countless dog owners and breeders realize their dream of puppies. It is a big decision, and there are many considerations that you, as the owner, must make before you throw yourself into the project. At Dyrlægegruppen Dania, we have extensive experience and expertise in reproduction in dogs and cats. We are ready to advise you on your females physical and mental health and suitability for breeding, so that you can make the best choice for you and your dog.

Once the decision has been made, we are happy to guide you from mating to birth and the time afterwards with puppies. One of the first questions that comes to mind is when the female should be mated to increase the chances of pregnancy.

When should the female dog be mated?

The female usually comes into heat twice a year. Whether or not the female becomes pregnant depends, amongst other things, on whether the mature egg is fertilized at the right time during heat. However, there can be large individual and breed-specific differences that can make it difficult to determine the optimal mating time exactly. Just as it can be crucial that the timing is right if you need to travel a long distance with your bitch for mating or receiving refrigerated or frozen semen for insemination.

Not only does the chance of pregnancy increase if mating takes place at the most favourable time. The number of puppies is also optimized. 70 percent of females that go empty or have smaller litters than expected are due to mating at the wrong time during the breeding season.

Three factors determine mating time.

When you and your female dog come to the clinic for an oestrus check, we first have a careful discussion about previous whelping times, mating’s and births. Three tests are then carried out, which together tell us where in the heat cycle your dog is.

Based on a gynecological examination – including removal of vaginal swabs and binocular examination of the mucous membranes – combined with measurement of the progesterone concentration in the dog’s blood, the best time for mating is determined. All female dogs are followed until ovulation is established.