Are you one of the many dog owners who are looking to breed their dogs but, worry about the risks associated with natural breeding? If your answer is yes, then your worry ends here. This article will tell you will get to know everything you need to know about artificial insemination in dogs.
Artificial Insemination is a modern technique that can help dogs get pregnant without naturally mating. Let’s understand this procedure and get some valuable insights.
Artificial Insemination In Dogs
Dog artificial insemination is a modern alternative to natural dog breeding. Here the semen of a male dog is collected and injected into the female dog’s vagina or uterus. The method is getting popular globally as it is safe and compensates for failed pregnancy issues in the bitches.
For instance, in natural mating, there is always a risk for dogs to have sexually-transmitted diseases. Artificial insemination eliminates the risk of sexually-transmitted diseases and delivers a safe breeding experience for both male and female dogs.
Here are some more reasons why you should consider dog artificial insemination:
- Widens the scope for breeding. Two dogs from different regions can easily breed and produce puppies without travelling to a single location. For instance, you need a country-specific breed in your environment. You can leverage this method and bring new species by breeding your dog with a different country dog.
- Not only the region but, two different breeds can reproduce with this method. This helps in improving genetic diversity in a breed and introduces new traits in the new pup.
So, how does artificial insemination differ from natural breeding?
The breeding is done artificially using different modern equipment and trained staff.
So, firstly, the staff who will undertake the task will determine the most fertile day for the female dog. A progesterone test will help provide the details when the bitch is fertile. This test ensures that the procedure doesn’t fail.
Next, the focus is on collecting the dog’s sperm/semen. The sperm of a male dog is produced by stimulating its genitalia. The semen then needs to be put into a semen collection bag. The prostatic fluid is usually isolated from the sperm around this time.
Eventually, the sperm is put into a syringe and catheter. The artificial insemination catheter is then inserted into the female dog and the sperm is safely guided into the reproductive organ. Also, there is no need for anaesthesia in this process.
Types of semen
In artificial insemination, you can use three types of dog semen.
- Fresh semen: this semen is used when both dogs are in close proximity area. For instance, a dog that is residing in the same neighbourhood. When using fresh semen, the female dog has already undergone ovulation.
- Fresh chilled: if the semen needs to get shifted to a different place, it’s kept in a chilled container. However, the chilled semen is only useful for 24 Hours. Here the ovulation timing needs to get assessed in advance i.e. before the semen is shipped.
- Frozen: stored in liquid nitrogen allows you to use it after a long time. The storage container for such semen maintains a subzero temperature. The longevity also depends on whether the sperm was damaged during the freezing and defrosting steps. In addition, determining the ovulation timing before the frozen semen is transported is not necessary.
The fresh semen is for short distances, the chilled one comes in handy for breeding dogs within the city or country and the frozen one is for when the semen needs to be transported or used in future.
But, before you decide on using this method for your furry friend. It’s important to ask yourself this question- Is your dog ready for mating? Because imposing this procedure out of the blue can have serious implications. So, How will you know whether your dog is ready for mating?
Signs your dog is ready for mating
Before you decide to breed the dog, it’s necessary you know whether or not your dog is ready for mating. Following are the indications that your dog is willing to mate:
One of the simple indicators is when a female dog is in the heat cycle. Small breeds have more heat cycles while the larger breeds have their heat cycle about twice a year. Also, while they are in their cycle, you will see vaginal bleeding.
During their heat cycle, the female dogs are attracted towards the male dogs. However, they usually resent mating in their first week of the cycle.
Male dogs are known to mark their territory with urine when they want to mate. Marking territory is to show their domination and lure female dogs to mate with them. You will also see a sudden spike in their aggression. This happens because of the rising hormones. In addition, if you see your dog mounting constantly then they are showing the intent to mate with the female dog.
These are the signs that your dog is willing to mate and you can form a timeline with a vet’s consultation to pick the best period to breed the dog using the artificial insemination method.
Now, before you decide to take the benefits of the procedure, it’s crucial you know the intent. This means you need to outline the purpose you are choosing this treatment for your dog. Here are some of the things you need to get done before moving forward with the procedure:
- Test the male semen
- Get complete details regarding the dog’s health history
- Cost of the procedure
- Gather information about the medical staff, clinic or hospital and see whether they have the latest equipment
- Verify the experience of the medic team that will perform the procedure
Types Of Artificial Insemination In Dogs
This modern approach has three different types – Surgical Insemination, Transvaginal Insemination, and Transcervical Insemination. The transvaginal and transcervical are the non-surgical procedure.
- Surgical Insemination
The surgical procedure is the most intrusive and dangerous one. It is a good choice for canines who have fertility issues as well as the bitches who may have uterine health problems. In addition, it works nicely for older semen as well.
Further, the process mandates sedation of the dog with anaesthesia. After sedation, the injection of semen into the uterus is possible. The risk is high but, this method has an almost 100% success rate. But, don’t get your hopes high. According to RCVS, the procedure is banned in the UK.
- Transvaginal Insemination
In the transvaginal type, the vet will use an insemination pipette to inject fresh or chilled semen into the female dog’s vagina. This is the most common method for artificial insemination in dogs and is less dangerous in comparison to the surgical option. However, the execution of this method is only possible through a team of trained medical professionals.
- Transcervical Insemination
This insemination method involves using a small tool to slide through the female dog’s vagina and cervix into the uterus. Once the tool is inside, the semen moves through the tool and goes into the uterus. This procedure is less effective in comparison to transvaginal but, safer for your furry friend.
Risk Of Artificial Insemination In Dogs
This procedure has its fair share of benefits but, there are some risk factors and disadvantages as well.
#1 Risk of physical or psychological trauma
If an inexperienced individual executes the procedure or the method is used incorrectly, there are complications and chances of infection in dogs. For instance, surgical insemination. It’s high risk and if not carefully done, leads to severe health issues. The procedure is hefty and some dogs may face traumatic experiences afterwards.
#2 Genetic issues
While the method is beneficiary in terms of genetic diversity, there is a contrasting opinion as well. The frozen semen that is used for breeding can reflect unexpected genetic traits in the newborn pup. Also, overusing the sperm of a single male dog for more breeding of more puppies can also have a similar impact.
#3 Hereditary disease
When the semen of a male dog from a different region or county is used, there is a chance the new breed of pups will carry forward hereditary diseases. At times, breeders overlook this aspect and, use the semen of the male dog without proper medical testing. This puts the newborn puppy at risk of having the disease.
#4 Less natural mating
With this method, many breeders start breeding their dogs without allowing them to mate naturally. Using the procedure regularly can have a significant impact on the new puppies’ genes. For instance, the ability to mate naturally can reduce because the parent dogs haven’t actually reproduced with a natural process.
Further, if this artificial method is used on dogs that can’t mate naturally i.e. because of health or conformational reasons then the new species will also have the same difficulty.
The risks are inevitable and indicate that you should only proceed with this method with caution.
Further, if you do opt to breed the dog with this method, how will you know whether it was a success or not? Let’s find out.
The success rate for artificial insemination
There are ample factors that impact the result of artificial insemination for dogs. Normally, when the procedure is done twice, you will get fast results. However, your dog will also suffer from some common issues such as lethargy, and this will only elevate in the next few days.
In addition, your dog’s stomach size will grow, and swelling will increase in the nipples. The behaviour change is instant and a vet may also suggest getting an ultrasound after 3 weeks of the procedure.
Following are some of the reasons that indicate whether the procedure was a success or not:
- Quality of the semen
The semen that is of high quality and from a healthy dog breed boosts the chances for breeding through artificial insemination. The more tested the semen is better the success rate for the procedure being a success.
However, this doesn’t imply that low-quality semen will not work, it can but, you risk passing on weak genes and underlying conditions.
The sexually immature male dogs will not produce any conceivable sperm. So, when you make an attempt to breed them prematurely, there is a possibility that the procedure won’t work.
- Progesterone levels in female canine
Before opting to have the procedure it’s crucial for you to get the analysis on the progesterone levels in female dogs. The report of the progesterone levels will help in selecting an appropriate day to execute the procedure. So, when the vet injects the semen on that specific day, the procedure being a success is a definite prospect.
- Sperm count
If the sperm count of the male dog is low, the female dog’s eggs might not get fertilised. So, even if the sperm is from a healthy dog and of good quality, the procedure may fail. in fact, low sperm count is one of the prominent reasons for failed pregnancy in dogs.
These were some of the factors that play a huge role in the success of the procedure. Post-procedure the vet will suggest you make sure your dog doesn’t squat for urination for at least 30 minutes. This is mainly to prevent the semen discharge in the urine that is just injected.
The rough estimate for the success rate of dog artificial insemination in the UK is about 95%. The results across the country are positive and dog owners or professional breeders are now considering using this method to breed their dogs.
Ai in dogs basically means artificial insemination in dogs. This is an artificial procedure which allows our canine friends to reproduce without naturally mating. This method helps breeders breed different dogs from different regions to get a genetic variation for their new pup.
The minimal cost of artificial insemination for dogs in the UK is about £40. These prices may vary based on the procedure you pick and the hospital or clinic you prefer. The approximate range is £400 – £800 it’s costly but, they are mainly covering the equipment costs and the sperm quality.
The number of times you decide to inseminate your dog solely depends on the choice of the breeder. If you are looking to leverage the clinical approach then, it involves sedation or at times cutting open the dog. So, daily insemination can have a negative impact on the dog’s health. So, it’s best to stick with the vet’s recommendation.
The significant reasons why ai in dogs is better than natural mating is – hygiene, efficacy and time. There is no contact whatsoever between the male and female dogs. This reduces the risk of Sexually transmitted infection. In addition, the time taken for the execution of the procedure makes is also less. It roughly takes about 10-15 minutes to conclude the procedure.
It’s crucial to have a clear purpose before thinking of using the Artificial Insemination method for dogs. This means if your dog is healthy and has quality genes, you can breed naturally. Because often vets suggest using the artificial insemination method for dogs who are located at longer distances or have difficulty in mating.
While moving forward with the procedure the vet will make sure they determine when the female dog is most fertile i.e. ovulation timing, especially if they are using chilled semen or frozen semen. Also, details pertaining to the semen preparation are used to determine the appropriate insemination method.