Fertility in female dogs can weaken due to various reasons, such as aging and infections.
However, it is important to understand what infertility in dogs actually means:
- Failing to release eggs (ovulate)
- Refusing to mate with a male dog
- Inability to carry a pregnancy to full term
- Difficulties during delivery due to various anatomical reasons (dystocia)
Infertility can encompass all of the above conditions and more. Sometimes, it’s not the dog’s fault—failed pregnancies can occur due to improper timing on the breeder’s part!
Therefore, it is best to avoid labeling a female dog as infertile unless she has undergone a thorough checkup with a certified veterinarian.
An experienced vet will conduct a comprehensive reproductive evaluation, ruling out all human-caused possibilities. Common factors such as poor nutrition, stress, and unsanitary conditions can also affect a female dog’s fertility, which technically falls under the responsibility of the breeder.
Once you determine the cause of infertility in your female dog, you can consider some of the treatment options listed below
Tips to Increase Fertility of a Female Dog
Follow the tips below to know how to increase the fertility of your female dog and prevent miscarriage or untimely breeding.
1. Administering Sepia 30C
For infertility in female dogs caused by hormonal changes and disruptions related to stress and trauma, Sepia 30C is a great option. It is a versatile homeopathic drug that is used to treat psychological problems in humans and works in the same manner for dogs too.
Sepia is basically cuttlefish ink or squid ink. The liquid is said to be a miracle cure for a lot of disorders that stem from hormones and also helps increase female dog fertility.
Some even believe that administering Sepia 30C in dogs help solve mood swing issues for female as well. Sometimes, when the female dog refuses to mate with a male dog, it is due to hidden anxiety to do so. Sepia can help ease that as well.
- Helps reduce headaches
- It brings down nausea and makes it easier to eat
- Easy to use, and size is very compact as well
- No side effects
- Completely homeopathic product with no chemicals
- It helps with rosacea as well (reddening of cheeks)
- It might help some people with depression and anxiety as well
- There are some cases of wrong products sent or sent with the seal broken
- Results may not be easily visible immediately
- It might take several weeks of use to be effective
- The availability of the product remains limited, and it goes out of stock many times.
- Few qualified homeopathic doctors to give effective dosage recommendations
2. Fewer Grains, More Fat & Protein
As is with humans, so is with dogs. Most diseases and disorders stem from the wrong diet. So in order to ensure that your female is healthy enough to give birth, you must consult a vet and switch her on a feed that is best suited to her requirement.
Hormonal disturbances and organ disruptions can occur from giving dogs more than required quantities of carbs. These tend to come in the form of sugar, grains and carb-rich treats. Even kibble that isn’t grain-free or loaded with hidden carbohydrates can turn any dog unhealthy. To increase the fertility of your female dog, it is essential that you feed her wholesome meals.
Brood bitches who eat carb-loaded meals experience frequent sugar spikes, causing irregularities in their blood sugar. Resultantly, this confuses the system and their estrus gets messed up. When the sugar from the food ebbs away, the system releases cortisol to make up for the decrease in sugar levels. This sends the hormones into a frenzy. The menstrual cycle doesn’t know when to start or stop. Sometimes, a sugar spike may cause the estrus to begin while the female dog is pregnant, causing painful miscarriages or reabsorption of the fetuses.
To avoid a miscarriage and increase the bitch’s fertility, feeding fresh greens and homemade meals are the perfect remedy.
3. Schedule Regular Bacteriological Examinations
All of these infections can be prevented, just with a little caution. Simply take your dog for regular checkups at the vet, preferably after the estrus, to see if everything’s running smoothly.
Pyometra happens during a dog’s estrus, due to a hormonal imbalance. During the estrus, the ovaries stop the white blood cells from entering, so that the egg can be fertilized. This is made possible by the excess progesterone in the body. Now, if the progesterone level remains high even after the estrus, the white blood cells remain unable to enter. White blood cells usually help combat infections and viruses in the body. A hormonal disturbance, such as this one, will cause the ovaries to lack white blood cells, thus making way for infections.
This is how pyometra happens commonly. A regular checkup of the female dog’s ovaries and other internal organs is a must to rule out similar infections. Pyometra or any other bacterial infection in the ovaries or the mammary glands can prevent a pregnancy from completing its full course.
4. Use Fertility Supplements for Female Dogs
If you are wondering how to increase the chance of dog pregnancy, female dog fertility supplements could be the answer. Products like Revival Animal Health Breeder’s Edge Oxy Mate Prenatal Supplement can help aid pregnancy in female dogs. This product has loads of zinc, iron, and folic acid, so it aids your female dog’s pregnancy. The product helps in producing red blood cells and in blood flow, and these help the dog conceive. It also aids in making birthing easier and improving uterine tone because of its specialized herbs.
One drawback is that the flavor isn’t great, so you have to force your bitch to take them. Some dogs might also be allergic to the product, so read the ingredient info carefully.
- Contains Zinc, iron, and folate
- Helps in red blood cell production
- Aids birthing
- Not very tasty and has to be fed forcefully
- Some dogs might be allergic
5. Test the Bitch for Brucella Canis
A recent study (February 2019) stated that “The genus Brucella is a primary cause of reproductive diseases”. Brucella Canis is a bacterial infection that causes infertility in male and female dogs. It is caused by the same family of bacteria that are responsible for food poisoning via unsanitary dairy and meat in dogs.
Painfully so, this bacteria is responsible for miscarriages of fully developed fetuses in female dogs. While in male dogs, it acts by destroying the sperm, rendering the dog unable to fertilize a female and have babies.
Brucella Canis doesn’t just stop at destroying the fertility of the male and female dogs, it also causes a spinal infection on both genders, the canine equivalent of spondylitis.
If your female dog is going through an abortion, after having a completely healthy pregnancy, there is a high chance of her having become infected. Before and during her pregnancy, it is extremely important to keep on top of her health status. Get her checked by a vet frequently, for out-of-the-ordinary symptoms.
In the case of Brucella Canis, prevention is definitely better than cure. Not only is the treatment of this deadly disease emotionally usurping, but it is also very expensive and requires a lot of attention from the breeder.
6. Use Proven Breeding Dogs
A lot of times, the best and most fertile bitches also don’t get pregnant. This could be due to poor quality of sperm, rather than their own infertility issues.
The best and surest way of getting your female to have babies – is to mate her with a proven breeding dog. Find a dog that has previously sired a healthy litter and breed your female with him. That way, if your female is in perfect health, with a little care and nutrition, you’d have a brilliant litter too.
More often than not, a male dog with low motility is equally responsible for causing a failed pregnancy. In order to ensure that the litter is of superior quality, make sure you mate your dog with a dog that has had a track record of producing a quality litter. The pedigree of dogs matters.
Proven dogs are also a great idea for mating your female with if you are looking for a particular quality of coat or a definite ability in the litter. While you cannot custom-design a litter, you can try and make sure that it has the right characteristics – physical and skill-wise.
What Makes Female Dogs Infertile?
Ovulation in female dogs is a complex process that involves the brain, nervous system, and sexual organs. For a puppy to be born, semen needs to be deposited during the female’s ovulation cycle. If any step in the sexual processes of either the male or female is missed, it can result in infertility.
Apart from mistiming, there can be other reasons for infertility in females. These include poor health, a poor semen sample, and age-related issues like CEC and Brucellosis.
In most cases, infertility is caused by a combination of several factors. Let’s take a closer look at some of these reasons.
The canine heat cycle is divided into three main phases, and these are proestrus, oestrus, and anestrous. Approximately nine to twelve days after the first stage starts oestrus, and this is the time when ovulation happens. This cycle also lasts for an equal number of days. It is the best time for the female to breed.
If the dog owner or breeder misses this cycle, breeding will not lead to any progeny being born. Therefore, understanding and tracking this cycle is an absolute must. Breeders should work closely with vets who understand and know how to monitor these cycles. The vet can ascertain the right timing through vaginal cytologies, LH testing and progesterone.
This will help breeders and dog owners avoid mistiming the heat cycle and enhance the chance of successful breeding. For the best chances of insemination, vets recommend breeding at least twice during this period.
Just like humans, the physical condition of the female dog greatly affects her chances at successfully giving birth. Make sure that your female dog is:
- In good health, as required by her breed club recommendations,
- In the right weight range; neither too heavy nor underweight, and
- Eating a balanced, AAFCO-approved diet, or a vet-created special diet
Do not vaccinate her during breeding, and make sure that vaccinations happen at least two weeks prior to mating. Not all heartworm and flea/tick preventives are safe during pregnancy, so ensure that you only give safe ones.
Another important check is for orthopedic problems, so get her tested out for pelvic fractures and other structural abnormalities. These can narrow her birth canal, hamper the development of the puppy and ultimately cause infertility. Make sure to check health supplements and medicines for pregnancy safety, especially calcium and raspberry tea leaf-based ones.
Cystic Endometrial Complex
Cystic endometrial hyperplasia (CEH) is a common disorder in adult bitches who have not been spayed. After each heat cycle, progesterone in a female dog’s body thickens her uterus lining to prepare for pregnancy. When the pregnancy does not happen many times, the cells continue to thicken, causing cysts.
This creates two problems:
- The cysts invite bacterial growth
- The thickening of the uterus muscle does not allow bacteria entering to be expelled
Overall, it makes the female dog’s uterus a hostile place for the fetus and makes getting pregnant difficult. If you are planning to breed your female dog, it is best to do so before three years of age. After this age, CEH-related fertility problems start showing up more frequently. Apart from age, any drugs that enhance estrogen and progesterone levels can also cause CEH and should be avoided. Some such drugs include progesterone-based drugs and synthetic estrogen drugs.
Brucellosis is an infection of the Brucella Canis bacteria that only affects dogs and happens all over the world. Instances of brucellosis are rare; however, when it happens, it causes miscarriages and infertility. If multiple dogs are kept close to each other, this disease can spread very quickly among them. Here are some symptoms of Brucellosis:
- Miscarriages during the final trimester with no other complications
- Recurring vaginal discharge post miscarriage for a long time
Brucellosis also affects males and can cause male infertility as well. Before breeding all male and female dogs should be tested for it, but the test is a simple one. You will have to visit the vet during the female dog’s ovulation, and they will check her out. Positive screening is rare, but it does happen, and your dog then has to undergo further testing.
Semen Sample & Breeding Methods
Sometimes the bitch is not the cause of infertility, so you should review the semen sample and breeding methods. These can have a significant impact on breeding. Firstly, the type of breeding can be a factor in fertility and litter size. There are many options available – natural, vaginal AI, and intrauterine AI. Each has its own pros and cons and can influence fertility.
Secondly, in artificial insemination, the quality of semen sample impacts fertility – and it varies by breed as well. You should get in touch with a vet to determine the method and semen type for breeding your female.
Thirdly semen sample type also makes an impact. There are several types available – fresh, chilled, or frozen thawed and some are preferable for some breeds. Keep in mind that the best method and semen are all dependent on your dog’s condition too. So it is important to get her tested for improving fertility in female dogs.
What Causes Pregnancy Loss?
Pregnancy loss issues can be categorized into four main groups:
- Estrous cycle problems: These occur when the female dog experiences abnormal heat cycles. This can manifest as delayed, missing, or irregular cycles. Typically, female dogs have regular cycles starting from their second year, which occur every four to ten months.
- Inability to breed: If you’re wondering why your female dog won’t mate, the main reason is often mistimed fertility. When breeding is not properly timed, the female may become uninterested. In such cases, it’s important to consult a veterinarian to ensure accurate timing for successful breedings.
- Physical abnormalities in the female dog: Certain conditions like CEH (canine herpesvirus), Brucellosis, as well as hereditary issues with the uterine tract and uterine tumors can prevent successful breeding. Additionally, hormonal problems such as insufficient hormone levels, hormone imbalances, and certain medications can also lead to pregnancy loss.
- Pregnancy loss: If all factors seem normal and there are no underlying issues, pregnancy loss may occur due to hormonal problems. These can include inadequate hormone levels, hormone imbalances, or the effects of certain medications.
It’s natural to desire puppies for your female dog, but it’s crucial to address these potential problems. We have provided an overview of the key issues your dog may face, so we strongly recommend consulting with a veterinarian regarding these matters.