Can female dogs live without mating?
Birds do it, bees do it — dogs definitely do it! Every living creature on the earth placed to repopulate has the ability to mate and reproduce!
But can dogs live when that characteristic is taken away from them? With the amount of spaying and neutering we talk about with our animals, is it possible that we’re actually hurting them?
While dogs are able to — and should be permitted to — mate with each other, your doggo can definitely live without mating! In short, it will never harm your dog if he or she can’t mate, and it’s important to recognize that spayed and neutered dogs can live just as long as other pups who have not been fixed.
In short, dogs do not need to breed but frustration may come out of a lack of sexual interactions from the male. While, in the female dog, not breeding may have both good and bad health and hormonal consequences. Overall, it’s fine if you do not breed your dogs, but expect them to still show signs of wanting to mate. In females, these signs will show during her heat, and males will have a tendency to hump and chase females around.
When you can start Mating?
A responsible dog breeder will wait for a dog to reach maturity before allowing it to mate. The approximate ages of sexual maturity for dogs are:
- Large Dog Breeds: 18 to 24 months old
- Medium Dog Breeds: 15 to 18 months old
- Small Dog Breeds: 12 to 18 months old
While a dog may reach sexual maturity in the first year and a half of life, it’s best to wait until it’s at least two years old before mating. This is especially true for bitches, who should not breed during their first year of heat. Just like humans, they are still mentally and physically immature. A bitch who is too young will not be able to care for her litter, which could result in the puppies being neglected.
Additionally, if your pup starts to take on roaming behaviors, it’s possible that he’s looking for a mate — a natural reaction, but an inconvenient, and potentially dangerous one. Fixing your dog will typically solve this issue. An unfixed male can also go through an especially undesirable mounting phase during puberty.
A Little Science
Your dog, just like all other living organisms that are set up for reproduction, has a natural inclination to mate. However, if your dog doesn’t mate, his life isn’t at risk. In fact, your dog, like humans and other animals, is not required to mate to live.
The urge to reproduce is higher in animals, especially in dogs. Even though it’s essential for the survival of the species, it is not essential for the survival of your dog. Typically, these sexual behaviors and drives will be absent in your young dog’s life, but when puberty hits and early adulthood begins, a dog’s survival genes will kick in.
Keep in mind that this is a natural and normal urge, and dogs are able to live normal, healthy, and long lives without ever mating.
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Breeding — What to expect after mating
Pregnancy, also called the gestation period, normally ranges from 58 to 65 days with an average of 63 days. With a planned breeding, the date of mating should be carefully recorded. If there are two matings, make a note of the exact dates and expect birth to occur between 63 and 65 days later.
Immediately after your female dog has been mated, is there anything you should do?
Make sure that she does not have the opportunity to mate with any other dogs. Remember that oestrus will continue for several more days and she could theoretically become pregnant from another dog during this period. After a planned mating it is a good idea to allow her to rest quietly for a few hours.
Should you change her food?
It is important that she is in good physical condition before she is mated. Both the male and female dog should be examined by a veterinarian prior to mating.
After mating, food intake should remain the same during the first two-thirds of pregnancy (approximately six weeks after mating). If a well-balanced super-premium diet is being fed there is no need to use additional vitamin or mineral supplements. Discuss nutritional supplements and vitamins with your veterinarian before giving them to your dog. Some large breed dogs may have adverse effects if they are given certain supplements.
What to do after the sixth week?
After the sixth week of pregnancy, food intake should be gradually increased and high energy, low fiber foods are recommended (ie the premium diets available from the veterinary hospital). As the foetuses increase in size, abdominal pressure increases and frequent small meals are advised.
During the last three weeks of pregnancy, food intake can be increased by up to one and a half times the normal level by feeding smaller meals more frequently.
If you are unsure about any supplements or medication, please do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. Some commonly used drugs should be avoided if your dog is pregnant.
How can you be certain your dog is pregnant?
Early pregnancy detection in dogs can be extremely difficult. Unfortunately, as yet, we have no reliable laboratory test. Trans-abdominal palpation (feeling the abdomen for enlarged uterus) by a veterinarian at about three to four weeks after mating may be performed, but the results are variable. It has to be said that results depend more upon the relaxation of the female than the experience of the doctor!
Abdominal ultrasound is currently the method of choice. Depending on the equipment, positive diagnosis can be made as early as three weeks. Most scans from one month of pregnancy and onwards are reliable. Any estimate of the number of puppies should be treated with caution. It can be difficult to accurately count the number of foetuses on an ultrasound. An abdominal radiograph (x-ray) during the last two weeks of pregnancy, generally around week seven, is the most accurate method for counting foetuses and should be performed on all pregnant dogs. Otherwise, you will not know when your female is finished having puppies and this could lead to puppies remaining trapped inside the mother.
Should her routine change as pregnancy advances?
As pregnancy progresses, intra-abdominal pressure increases and so does the mother’s food requirements. The number of meals usually needs to be increased rather than the quantity per meal. Let your pet decide how much physical activity she needs. This depends on the number of puppies and the amount of intra-abdominal pressure she is experiencing. Do not over exercise a pregnant female. Check for any vaginal discharges and contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
Can female dogs live without mating?
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