Crestwood Veterinary Centre is pleased to offer canine reproductive services.

Our breeding program is open to AKC/CKC registered dogs and provides the following services:

  • Semen collection, evaluation, freezing, storage, and shipping world-wide
  • Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and PennHip certification of hips, elbows, patellas, thyroid function, and more.
  • Accurate ovulation timing with in-house progesterone testing
  • Canine trans-cervical artificial insemination with fresh, chilled, or frozen semen
  • Surgical intra-uterine insemination using fresh, chilled, or frozen semen
  • Pregnancy diagnosis using ultrasound and radiography
  • Cesarian sections with tailored anesthetic protocols and monitoring
  • After-hours reproductive assistance including inseminations and whelping

Please note: on call service is made available only to patients
who have completed in-clinic progesterone timing and have confirmed ovulation)

Optimal Ovulation Timing Using Progesterone Levels

Crestwood Veterinary Centre offers in-house progesterone testing to pin-point ovulation in a dam. This blood test provides accurate timing for insemination, which varies with the type of semen and the method of insemination used.

Progesterone testing should start 5-7 days after a dam starts bleeding in her heat cycle to establish base-line progesterone levels. Blood testing is repeated to trend the increase in progesterone levels, which indicates important events through the heat cycle, as shown below. Ovulation is confirmed by a 3-fold increase in progesterone levels within 48 hours.


< 0.6-2.0 nmol/L

Repeat blood work in 48-72 hours

Start of Rise

2.0-5.8 nmol/L

Repeat blood work in 48 hours

LH Surge

6.0-8.5 nmol/L

Repeat blood work in 24-48 hours


18.0-26.0 nmol/L

Repeat blood work in 24-48 hours

Continued Rise
Confirming Ovulation

35.0->63.6 nmol/L

Breeding in 24-48 hours


Once a dam’s ovulation date is confirmed, breeding is arranged. There are several semen options available for breeding, and timing varies. It is imperative that semen is at the clinic in time for breeding.

Type of semen used Optimal Time of Breeding Recommended Semen Arrival Time to Clinic
Fresh semen 2-3 days after ovulation Present at time of breeding
Chilled semen 3 days after ovulation Arrival the night before breeding
Frozen semen 3-4 days after ovulation Arrival the week before breeding (or at minimum the night before)

Pregnancy Confirmation

  • Ultrasonography confirms a pregnancy 28 days after ovulation.
  • Radiography confirms the number of expected puppies 58 days after ovulation.


  • The length of pregnancy ranges between 60 to 65 days from ovulation. Usually, dogs whelp at day 63.

Temperature Changes

Prior to impending labor, a dam’s temperature will drop by 1o C.

Starting at Day 58, rectal temperature can be taken twice daily to watch for this change. Please make sure the temperature is taken after a bowel movement as this can falsely lower the temperature recording. Labor should begin within 24 hours after a temperature drop.

Stage 1 Labor

Once the temperature has dropped, we can expect Stage 1 labor to start within 24 hours. It is expected to see some of the following normal signs:

  • Heavy panting
  • Frequent urination or defecation
  • Digging or nesting
  • Vomiting
  • Not wanting to eat
  • Shivering

Stage 2 Labor

Stage 2 of labor begins when there are active contractions and a puppy moving through the birth canal. It is expected to see some of the following normal signs:

  • Visible, active contractions
  • Dam pushing as she lays down or squats
  • Dam is relaxed, panting
  • Clear or bloody-tinged fluid
  • A puppy in the birth canal presenting head-first or hind legs first
  • Progressive straining, lasting up to 1 hour before puppyarrival

Stage 3 Labor

Stage 3 of labor begins at the presentation of a placenta. The placenta can come out with a puppy or can come 5-30 minutes later.

The dam will go back and forth between Stage 2 and Stage 3 until all the puppies are born.

Normal whelping times vary with each dog and the number of puppies she is having.

Whelping Concerns

Below is a list of symptoms during labor that will warrant contacting your veterinary health team immediately:

  • Dark green, dark red, or brown discharge
  • Dam is pushing longer than 1 hour with no progression of a puppy
  • Dam is becoming stressed (any behaviour outside of what is considered normal, as described above)
  • Dam does not contract during vaginal examination
  • A puppy is felt in the vaginal canal, but does not move forward during contractions
  • Dam has stopped having contractions or puppies for more than 4 hours.