The most successful time to mate a bitch is two days (48 hours) after she has ovulated, but how do you know exactly when this is?

We have a progesterone analyser in house which gives a precise result within around 30 mins of inserting a blood sample.

Progesterone testing is especially important if your bitch has failed to produce a litter on previous mating’s or is reaching breeding maturity and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to produce puppies.

Even the most experienced of breeders can have difficulty judging the best time to mate.

The ovulation period can also change from one season to the next so there really is no pattern to plan by despite previous thoughts from an older generation of breeders.

In general, we would recommend to start testing progesterone levels between day 7/8 after the start of the bleed and swelling.  It may then be necessary to repeat the test every two or three days depending on the result.  We advise our clients fully after each test as to what we recommend going forward.

The science: Ovulation occurs two days after the LH surge when progesterone levels are between 8 – 9 ng/ml and the only reliable method of predicting ovulation in your bitch is a progesterone blood test.

After ovulation it takes approximately 48 hours for eggs to mature before they can be fertilised, so although the best time to mate is two days after ovulation, mating’s just before ovulation can still produce puppies. If possible, two mating’s (24 – 48hours apart) are recommended. Early/late mating’s made without pin pointing ovulation can result in smaller litter sizes such as singletons.  For optimum opportunity of producing a pregnancy and optimum litter size, a progesterone test is vital and used as standard by many reputable breeders and show kennels.

Free test kits will be sent out on request for your vet to add a blood sample.  The kit can then be posted back to us next day delivery or hand delivered to our premises.  As soon as the sample is received, we run the test and call you with your results same day, typically within 2 hours. If you hand deliver a sample, we can run it while you wait.

Please note that if you are sending in a sample please use Royal Mail Next Day Delivery Before 1pm MONDAY to FRIDAY only for postal samples and contact us to let us know to expect a delivery. If you are bringing in a sample in person, please contact us to let us know to ensure we are ready for your arrival, we can accept hand delivered samples 7 days a week, including Bank Holidays. (see below for how to obtain a blood sample and what we need for the test.)

Canine Pregnancy Testing / Whelping Date using Reverse Progesterone Testing

We are also able to use reverse progesterone testing accurately for your dog’s likely whelping date. Complications can occur during pregnancy and births, so it’s crucial to know the delivery date to ensure the health and wellbeing of your bitch and her pups. Certain dog breeds struggle to deliver a natural birth. Testing minimises any miscalculations and reduces the likelihood of complications.

Just as Progesterone testing pinpoints ovulation and subsequently when to mate it is also useful to monitor its level as it needs to stay elevated to sustain a pregnancy, it also falls to end a pregnancy and trigger whelping.

Testing can be important during pregnancy if previous failure to carry a litter full term suggests there was an early fall in progesterone, monitoring this hormone can give warning to a premature fall and time for you and your veterinary surgeon to intervene to keep the progesterone level elevated with medication.

In some cases when there is uncertainty on whether a bitch is in labour and whelping is imminent or where there is doubt on timing of a C-Section reverse progesterone testing is a valuable tool as the hormone progesterone falls to a certain level around the time puppies are ready to be born.

A breeders worst nightmare is often “Single Puppy Syndrome” this state of only carrying a single foetus sees a much higher incidence of pregnancy failure and also Primary Inertia” a condition where a bitch fails to go into productive labour and expel the puppy, too often breeders are told by their veterinary surgeon to go home and wait for nature to take its course but this can sometimes lead to loss of the puppy (or puppies) if the progesterone level has already fallen and the bitch has failed to whelp, if in doubt Reverse Progesterone Testing can be beneficial in knowing when to intervene.


How to obtain a blood sample.

1.You can take a sample yourself if you are competent to do.

2.Ask your vet / vet nurse to obtain a sample for you.

3. Bloods can be taken by us with the owner’s consent.

If you are posting a sample or hand delivering then we will need a minimum of 1ml of whole blood to be provided. (We centrifuge the sample in house to obtain the plasma needed for testing.) Acceptable vials are 1.3ml serum tubes with either a white top, clear top, or a yellow topped serum gel separator.

Prices:    Ovulation Tests £35    Pregnancy / Whelping Date Tests £35