Selling Pet Products? Click here to advertise your business at the PAWS Pet Breeder's Expo!

Conception Success Starts with Proper Nutrition and Timing

black lab puppy

Conception Success Starts with Proper Nutrition and Timing

Good nutrition, ovulating timing, breeding to quality semen from a proven stud dog, and monitoring the pregnancy properly are key to success.

How Soon and How Often Should I Breed?

It is generally not recommended to breed till the female dog is at least one year old and preferably on the second cycle. The total number of litters a female should have over a lifetime depends on the individual dog. Most of this will depend on genetics, temperament, health, conformation, and other traits she brings to the breed as a whole. If she requires a cesarean section or intrauterine insemination to get pregnant, this must be taken into consideration as well. It is considered a good industry standard to not breed past six years of age. Also, some females have a poor reproduction system and should be retired as pets.

Healthy Environment

The most positive impact on successful reproduction comes from practicing good basic pregnancy management. Feeding a healthy diet, monitoring body condition, allowing moderate exercise throughout pregnancy, good nutrition by feeding a quality dog food and adhering to deworming regimens all have a positive impact on the health of your females.


Do not underestimate the power of light. The ideal environment for whelping females has sixteen hours of lighting per day.

Medical Issues

Females can have a multitude of primary conditions, ranging from inflammatory to cystic to cyclic-associated The professional approach would be a biopsy of the uterus. A more common approach is treating with antibiotics for 7-10 days when your female comes into season. This will eliminate possible bacterial infections or pathogens which could make your female less productive.

Most Common Cause for Missed Heats

One of the biggest reasons for missed heats is not because they did not cycle but because it was not seen at the time.

Poor conception rates also come from males being bred to, too often. Sometimes it’s a burnout from summer heat.

Nervous females that will not relax in an unfamiliar setting.

Some of the above issues can be resolved very easily by owning your own males.

Progesterone testing is another way to be sure your females is in season. The time and money needed to invest in equipment can seem overwhelming. I would suggest to start by getting your females tested by a friend or vet who owns equipment, until you feel comfortably to make the investment.


There are a lot of supplements on the market. Most don’t work but some may. Here are a few that we are able to recommend; Bitch Pills, Be-Strong from Revival Animal Health, Health E or Vitamin E oil, and Vitalize.         

Watch for the next blog where we’ll discuss Preparing your female for whelping



PAWS (Pennsylvania Animal Welfare and Safety) is a group of pet breeders who are dedicated to
helping the industry by providing guidance in areas such as pet safety, marketing, public relations,
and legal requirements. We believe that pets should be treated humanely and with respect. We
work to provide our members and the industry with tools and education so they can meet and
exceed state and federal standards.

Search Here


Our Newsletter

By becoming a member you’re helping us educate dog breeders and improve standards to ensure that Pennsylvania pets have a healthier future!

It’s Easy
1. Download the form by clicking the button below.
2. Fill out the form on your computer or by hand.
3. Send to our office using the information on the form.