Females in Season
canines come into season about every 6 months. This heat period lasts
approximately one month. The initial approximately 9 days is called
Proestrus where they can start with vulval swelling, some bleeding and
some odors which attract males. This period is not a fertile time, even
though males may want to breed with them.
another approximately 9 day period when vulval swelling is at its
maximum and bleeding is at its maximum. This is a period when ovulation
occurs. This is also the period when the female will accept breeding.
Since ovulation occurs approximately half way through this period, that
is the best time to have her bred if a pregnancy is wanted.
Metestrus also lasts approximately 9 days and is the winding up phase of heat. Anestrus is the period between heats.
the female is successfully bred, she will have a gestation period of
from 62-65 days, during which fetal development will take place.
Usually, within 24 hours of giving birth, the female will start what is
called nesting behavior, where she looks for the best place to deliver
her litter. Also during this time, her temperature usually drops at
least a full degree from normal. (Normal body temperature is 100.5 and
101.5 degrees). To establish her normal temperature, you need to take
it daily at about the same time each day before the nesting behavior
labor begins the puppies are usually delivered pretty quickly; however
problems can occur. If the female is in labor and more than two hours
of active labor passes without a puppy, she should be seen. If she has
had one or more puppies and is in active labor longer than two hours
without delivering another puppy, she needs to be seen. Once you are
sure she has delivered all her puppies, she should be examined to make
sure she has delivered all her puppies and receive a clean out
injection to make sure all the placentas are passed. During delivery,
try to avoid letting the mother eat all the placentas. While eating one
or two can be good for her, eating all of them might cause GI upsets.
If the puppies normally would have their tails and/or their dewclaws
removed, that is best done around 3-5 days of age.
or false pregnancy can occur. Since it can take about two months for
some females to completely end the hormones involved with the heat
period, some nonpregnant females may show signs of being pregnant. I
have even seen some go into labor. This can be confusing and may
require x-rays to make sure a pregnancy actually exists.