The most successful time to mate a bitch is two days (48 hours) after she has ovulated, but how do you know when this is?
Unlike most vet practices who take blood samples and send them to external labs, we at North West Breeding Services have a progesterone analyser in house which gives a precise result within an hour of inserting a blood sample.
Progesterone testing is especially important if your bitch has failed to produce a litter on previous mating’s or is reaching breeding maturity and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to produce puppies.
Even the most experienced of breeders can have difficulty judging the best time to mate. Some bitches may ovulate as early as day five of the season and some as late as day 26.
The ovulation period can also change from one season to the next so there really is no pattern to plan by despite previous thoughts from an older generation of breeders.
In general, we would recommend to start testing progesterone levels between day 5/7 after the start of the virginal bleeding and swelling. It may then be necessary to repeat the test every two or three days depending on the result. We advise our clients fully after each test as to what we recommend going forward.
Ovulation occurs two days after the LH surge when progesterone levels are between 8 – 9 ng/ml and the only reliable method of predicting ovulation in your bitch is a progesterone blood test. After ovulation it takes approximately 48 hours for eggs to mature before they can be fertilised, so although the best time to mate is two days after ovulation, mating’s just before ovulation can still produce puppies. If possible, two mating’s (24 – 48hours apart) are recommended. Early/late mating’s made without pin pointing ovulation can result in smaller litter sizes such as singletons. For optimum opportunity of producing a pregnancy and optimum litter size, a progesterone test is vital and used as standard by many reputable breeders and show kennels.
Free test kits will be sent out on request for your vet to add a blood sample. The kit can then be posted back to us next day delivery or hand delivered to our premises. As soon as the sample is received, we run the test and call you with your results same day, typically within 2 hours.
This service is available seven days a week including Bank Holidays.