Greyhound breeding, especially for the bitch, requires careful observation and care leading up to and after the whelping of the puppies. Here we will delve into various stages, including the time to breed and characteristics of her different cycles.
Age and Seasonal Periods
First coming in season: A greyhound bitch usually comes in season for the first time at around ten months old. However, due to her not being fully developed at this stage, it is not recommended to breed her until her second cycle.
Second coming in season: The recommended age for breeding is when the bitch comes into her second cycle, usually around eighteen months old. This is when she has reached full growth. Some breeders may wait for an additional cycle to ensure that the bitch can safely bear a litter of puppies.
Late-bloomers: While it is rare, some greyhound bitches may not come in season until they are almost two years old.
Seasonal regularity: Most bitches have two cycles per year, though not all maintain a high level of consistency. The time between cycles may vary, but in general, breeders reckon the next cycle based on the whelping date rather than the mating date.
Recognizing the Cycle and Mating
- Initial discharge: Bitches in season will initially have a colorless discharge.
- Deep red discharge: After a day or two, the discharge turns deep red.
- Return to colorless discharge: This cycle typically lasts for seven to eight days. The discharge will revert to an almost colorless state again, indicating the optimal time for mating.
There are some exceptions regarding the timeline. The optimal mating time may fall within a range of seven to fourteen days after the bitch first shows signs of being in season. Thus, it is essential to constantly observe for the most appropriate time.
Table: Cycles and Discharge Colors
Observations and Precautions
- The best timing for breeding relies on vigilant observation of the bitch throughout her cycles.
- It’s possible for a bitch to be in season for three or four days before showing any signs, potentially leading to unintended mating.
- To ensure the best possible health of both the bitch and pups, attention to detail and careful breed planning is recommended.
Care and Management of Greyhound Bitches
The care and management of a greyhound bitch, especially during her cycle, requires meticulous attention to her feeding, exercise, and overall well-being to secure both her health and the quality of potential litters.
Dietary and Exercise Regimens
Diet: Careful planning is essential to keep the bitch well-fed and nourished without promoting excessive weight gain, which could potentially harm her heart due to the natural layer of fat that forms around it when she’s in season.
Exercise: Caution should be exercised regarding her physical activity during this period. Over-exertion can cause undue stress on her heart. For this reason, racing greyhounds are not raced until three months after their first signs of being in season.
Example: Notably, the legendary greyhound Greta Ranee won the English Derby on the day she came in season. However, it’s important to note that the first day showing signs of being in season would not typically impact the bitch’s health or performance adversely.
Interaction with Other Dogs and Breeding Concerns
Limited interactions: Strictly limit the bitch’s freedom to interact with other dogs when in season due to the following potential issues:
- Risk of mating with an unintended sire: This could result in a litter of mixed-breed puppies that may not hold as much value. If an unintended mating happens, one unfounded myth suggests that the bitch’s subsequent litters could also produce mixed-breed puppies. However, there is no substantial evidence to support this claim.
- Long wait period for desired whelps: In the case of a greyhound bitch that only comes in season once every twelve months, an accidental mating imposes a considerable delay before potential pups from the desired mating can be expected.
Table: Guidelines for Care
|Balanced diet to avoid excessive weight gain
|Limit intensity and frequency to prevent over-exertion
|Limit exposure to other dogs to prevent mating with an unintended sire
|Understand the potential delay for desired whelps if accidental mating does occur
Bearing the above in mind, consistent exercise is essential for pregnant greyhounds, fostering fit and healthy muscles crucial for successful birthing. Their daily routine should accommodate regular physical activity, adjusting the intensity and duration as the pregnancy progresses.
Importance of Exercise
Muscle tone maintenance: Regular physical activity helps to maintain muscle strength and endurance, assisting in labor when the female needs to push the pups out.
Temperature management: During summer, it’s important to ensure the dog exercises during cooler parts of the day to prevent overheating. Extreme temperatures should be avoided for the well-being of the pregnant dog.
Exercise during Early and Advanced Pregnancy Stages
Early pregnancy exercise: In the initial stages of pregnancy, it is safe for the female greyhound to exercise with other compatible dogs.
Exercise during advanced pregnancy: As she enters the more advanced stages of pregnancy, it may be preferable to exercise her individually to avoid potential distress from being bumped or jostled.
Table: Exercise Guidelines for Pregnant Greyhounds
|Maintain regular exercise, avoid extreme temperatures
|Safe to exercise with other compatible dogs
|Preferably exercise individually to avoid potential distress
Regular exercise, while crucial for all dogs, plays a significant role in the health and comfort of pregnant greyhounds. With sufficient care, tailoring her physical activity to suit her condition and stage of pregnancy will contribute to a healthier and smoother birthing process.
Influence of Blood pH on Gender Ratios in Greyhound Litters
It has been suggested that the pH levels in a greyhound bitch’s bloodstream could influence the gender ratio of her resulting litter, although there is limited scientific evidence to support this theory. The blood pH fluctuation during the various mating stages is believed to impact the proportion of male to female offspring produced by the bitch.
Blood pH and Gender Ratios
Acidic blood: A slightly acidic blood pH in the bitch is said to result in a higher percentage of female puppies.
Alkaline blood: Conversely, a more alkaline blood pH may lead to a greater proportion of male puppies.
Mating period: The blood pH of the bitch can change throughout her mating period, being slightly more acidic at the beginning and becoming more alkaline towards the end.
Potential Risks of Relying on pH Theory
Limited window of pH change: The transition from acidic to alkaline blood pH is relatively short, only lasting for about three to four days. If a breeder waits too long to take advantage of the perceived window for more male puppies, the bitch may not produce any offspring at all.
Uncertainty of effectiveness: Some breeders attempt to manipulate the gender ratio of a litter by douching the bitch with a warm solution containing bicarbonate of soda before mating, intending to alter the blood pH. However, the effectiveness of this method remains unconfirmed, and it is not recommended for inexperienced breeders.
Table: Blood pH and Gender Ratios
|Resulting Offspring Gender
|Higher percentage of female puppies
|Higher percentage of male puppies
Ultimately, interfering with natural processes is generally discouraged due to the potential risks and the uncertainty of the outcomes. The gender balance of a litter is typically subject to chance, and most greyhound breeders maintain that female puppies generally sell more readily than males, making intentional manipulation of the gender ratio unnecessary.
Role of Vitamin E in Female Greyhound Nutrition and Fertility
The diet of a greyhound bitch, particularly in regards to her fertility, necessitates specific attention to nutrient supplementation, with Vitamin E playing a significant role. This vitamin, typically supplied in the form of wheat-germ oil, helps to prevent sterility in the bitch and supports healthy development in puppies to avoid inherited sterility.
Importance of Vitamin E
Prevents sterility: Adequate Vitamin E in a bitch’s diet functions as a crucial guard against sterility. This protection extends to her potential pups, reducing the likelihood of them being born sterile.
Promotes healthy pups: A sufficient concentration of Vitamin E not only shields against sterility but also aids the overall health of the resulting litter, contributing to their vitality and well-being.
Sources of Vitamin E in Diet
Wheat-germ oil: This substance is a commonly used form of Vitamin E supplementation for greyhounds. Its beneficial properties for fertility and overall health make it a valuable addition to a bitch’s diet.
Connection to Breeding Timing
Late breeding: Besides Vitamin E deficiency, breeding a bitch too late in her cycle is another factor that could result in her not producing any pups. This highlights the importance of optimal breeding timing alongside proper nutrition for successful greyhound breeding.
Table: Importance and Sources of Vitamin E
|Vitamin E in the diet can prevent fertility problems in both the bitch and her pups.
|Besides fertility, Vitamin E contributes to the overall health of the pups.
|Wheat-germ oil is a common and effective source of Vitamin E for greyhounds.
|Breeding too late in the cycle can also impact a bitch’s ability to produce puppies.
Maintaining a well-balanced diet rich in Vitamin E, coupled with appropriate breeding practices, are integral to ensuring a healthy and fruitful greyhound breeding programme.
Nutritional Guidelines and Care for Pregnant Greyhounds
Nutrition plays a pivotal role in the health of pregnant female greyhounds and the well-being of their offspring. Their dietary requirements change significantly before and during pregnancy, and it is important to consult with a veterinarian to ensure appropriate feeding habits and nutrient intake.
Initial Vet Consultation for Diet Planning
When to consult a vet: It is always recommended to consult with a veterinarian or experienced mentor before deciding on a pregnancy diet for a female greyhound.
Why consult a vet: The veterinarian can provide insights on feeding frequency, portion sizes, and the breed-specific body condition and nutritional needs at various stages of pregnancy.
Possible issues requiring veterinary care: For challenges such as large litter size, poor suckling pups, or inadequate milk production by the mother, it’s crucial to seek professional guidance on selecting appropriate supplements for the pups.
Addressing appetite problems: If a greyhound displays loss of appetite or falls ill during pregnancy, immediate veterinary intervention is required to diagnose and treat any underlying medical conditions.
Handling fussy eaters: It’s common for pregnant greyhounds to display fussiness about food. Experimenting with appealing food options like canned tuna, cooked meat, or roast chicken may help restore her interest in eating.
Tailoring Foods and Diets Based on Pregnancy Needs
Nutrient requirement: Pregnant greyhounds require sufficient vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, not just to maintain their own health but to nourish the developing pups and produce milk for their newborn litter.
Diet changes: As a greyhound moves through different phases—from birth to old age—their nutritional needs change. So, it’s important to adapt the diet to these shifting needs.
Fresh water: Always ensure the greyhound has access to fresh, clean water, regardless of the stage of its life cycle.
Feeding Requirements and Balanced Diet
Feeding frequency: While adult greyhounds need to be fed once daily, their pregnant or lactating counterparts should be fed at least twice a day—or as often as a veterinarian instructs.
Complete and balanced diet: Any selected diet should be complete, with all required nutrients present, and balanced—meaning nutrients are present in the right proportions. Both commercial diets and home-cooked or raw diets can be suitable if they meet these requirements.
Table: Nutritional Guidance for Pregnant Greyhounds
|Vet consultation for feeding frequency and requirements, address appetite or illness issues if any
|Pregnancy Nutrient Needs
|Adequate nutrients, vitamins and minerals for healthy pregnancy and lactation
|Feed adult greyhounds once daily, pregnant or lactating ones twice daily or as suggested by a vet
Providing suitable nutrition and care to pregnant female greyhounds can ensure their optimal health and successful puppy development, helping them fulfill their roles as mothers effectively. Regular vet consultations and dietary adjustments, based on the unique needs of each individual and stage of development, are fundamental components of this process.
Nutritional Needs and Care for Pregnant and Lactating Greyhounds
Pregnant and lactating greyhound females have notably increased nutritional requirements to maintain their body functions and provide nourishment to developing pups and newborns. Consequently, their diet necessitates special attention to ensure the appropriate quantity, type, and frequency of food is offered.
Early Stages of Pregnancy
Avoid overfeeding: In the early stages of pregnancy, it is crucial not to overfeed the female greyhound. She should continue to eat a well-balanced diet.
Bodyweight management: Allow the greyhound to have slightly more body weight than during racing to compensate for potential fussy eating later in pregnancy. Her weight will naturally increase as the pups grow.
Balance in diet: Ensuring the diet is nutritionally balanced and complete helps to support healthy pup development. Overfeeding might lead to excess weight gain and can cause complications during birth.
Risks of Unbalanced Diet
Deprivation of nutrients: A diet lacking balance can deprive both the female greyhound and her growing pups of vital nutrients.
Dangers of oversupplementation: Excessive supplementation, particularly of calcium, can be just as harmful as under-supplementation and may lead to complications post-whelping.
Latter Stages of Pregnancy
Increasing food intake: As pregnancy progresses to the latter stages, the female greyhound’s food intake will need to rise, but it is advisable to distribute the increased amount amongst additional meals rather than increasing portion sizes.
Reason for increased meal frequency: The growing pups occupy considerable space in the female’s abdomen, leaving less room for her stomach to expand, making smaller, yet more frequent meals essential.
Dietary adjustments for dry kibble: For those feeding the greyhound dry kibble, it may be beneficial to gradually transition her to a puppy formula that typically has higher energy density, along with slightly elevated protein and calcium levels.
Table: Nutritional Needs of Pregnant and Lactating Greyhounds
|Avoid overfeeding, maintain a balanced diet, manage body weight
|– Risks of Unbalanced Diet
|Beware of nutrient deprivation, avoid oversupplementation, especially in calcium
|Incrementally increase food intake, divide increased portions into additional meals, adjust dry kibble if necessary
Attending to the unique nutritional needs of pregnant and lactating female greyhounds is crucial to safeguard their well-being and ensure their litters develop and thrive. Careful supervision of their dietary intake and adjustments as their pregnancy progresses contribute to overall health and successful breeding efforts.
Health Care for Pregnant Greyhounds
Health care for pregnant greyhounds demands heightened attention due to their increased susceptibility to disease and illness during this pivotal period. Promoting a clean environment with appropriate medical treatments and recognition of early signs of illnesses can greatly enhance their well-being throughout pregnancy.
Maintaining a Hygienic Environment
Disease susceptibility: Pregnancy makes female greyhounds prone to diseases and illnesses. Minimizing these risks by providing a hygienic environment is critical to their health.
Parasite control: Keep your female greyhound up-to-date with all worming and parasite treatments to curtail transmission risks to the unborn pups. Regular worming treatments under the guidance of a vet is recommended throughout pregnancy.
Product safety during pregnancy: Before administering any product or treatment, verify its safety during pregnancy. If in doubt, seek advice from a veterinarian.
Administering Medications and Treatments
Whenever a greyhound falls ill, caution must be exercised when administering treatments. Some medications may pose dangers to the unborn pups or cause miscarriage.
Consulting a vet before medication: Never administer medications without confirmation from a veterinarian that it’s suitable for pregnant females.
Informed Veterinarian: Always make sure that your veterinarian is aware that your greyhound is pregnant to facilitate an informed treatment protocol.
Early Recognition of Illness
Periodic health check: Early detection of illness is vital to timely treatment and recovery. Regular health inspections of pregnant greyhounds aid in spotting early signs of distress.
Key indicators of illness: Changes in behavior like decreased mobility, reluctance to socialize, abnormal repetitive actions, altered appetite, and unusual physical changes may hint at underlying health issues.
Safety during examination: It’s essential to ensure your safety while examining an unwell greyhound. Dogs in pain or discomfort may react aggressively.
|Minimize susceptibility to diseases and illnesses
|Regular worming treatments and parasite management
|Consult vets on product safety during pregnancy
|Early Illness Detection
|Regular checkups and monitoring behavioral changes
|Be cautious when dealing with potentially unwell dogs
The foundation of effective care for pregnant greyhounds is proactive health management. Cultivating a good understanding of a healthy greyhound’s behavior, maintaining vigorous hygiene, and adopting safe medication practices are all part of this comprehensive process. It is also crucial to document any signs of illnesses and to inform anyone involved in caring for the greyhound about the protocols in place. With proper care measures, you can ensure the well-being of your pregnant greyhound throughout her pregnancy.
Greyhound Bitch Pregnancy and Whelping Progression
The progression of pregnancy in a female greyhound involves definitive stages culminating with the whelping, or birthing, process. This progression of pregnancy and subsequent whelping are crucial to the health and wellness of both the bitch and her puppies.
Mating and Pregnancy Duration
When a bitch is mated, the date of mating is typically recorded on a mating certificate. From this date, a period of sixty-three days, excluding the day of mating, is typically used to predict the whelping date. This period allows the bitch’s caregiver to prepare for potential complications and assistance needs during the whelping process.
Variations in gestation period: Although most bitches follow a standard gestation timeframe, exceptions can occur. A bitch may whelp ahead or beyond the typical sixty-three day gestation period. However, if a bitch surpasses sixty-five days from the recorded mating date without whelping, a veterinarian should be immediately consulted to address potential health risks for the mother and pups.
Preparations for Whelping
As the bitch approaches her whelping date, there are several indications of imminent birth and preparations to be considered:
- Puppies’ positioning: Towards the end of the gestation period, the puppies will move to a position between the bitch’s hindlegs, causing noticeable swelling in that area.
- Behavioral changes: The bitch may exhibit signs of restlessness and show reduced interest in food, indicating that whelping is near.
- Kennel preparations: Breeders should prepare the bitch’s kennel for the impending whelping process.
- Ventilation and warmth: The kennel should be well-ventilated to prevent overheating, yet comfortably warm to maintain the bitch’s comfort during whelping. Introducing a coat for the bitch is one method, but this may hinder the bitch’s movements and is typically unnecessary in a warm kennel.
- Draught-proofing: To keep the bitch comfortable and warm, the kennel should be free from draughts. Strategic placement of straw bales inside the kennel can help achieve a cozy and draught-proof environment.
|Records the date of mating and helps predict the probable whelping date
|Adjustments made for achieving optimum warmth, ventilation, and comfort for the bitch
|Used in the kennel to maintain warmth and prevent draughts
In conclusion, careful monitoring of the pregnancy progression, effective preparation for the whelping period, and immediate vet intervention when required can ensure a successful whelping process and healthy offspring.