What Is Progesterone Test For Dogs?

What Is Progesterone Test For Dogs?

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: Jan 17 2023


The most important thing when it comes to successfully breeding dogs is timing. To ensure the success of the breeding and to increase the pregnancy rate, progesterone is very important. By measuring progesterone levels in your female dogs, you will have better chances of successful breeding, and if the pregnancy doesn’t happen, in most cases, it will be the stud dog’s fault.

Progesterone testing is very good for breeders who must pay some fees for the stud dog. In these cases, you want as much chance as possible for successful breeding, and this testing will help you achieve that. 

What is progesterone?

Progesterone is the most important hormone in female dogs when it comes to breeding. As the dog gets into the heat cycle, progesterone levels will change, and each value will indicate different cycles of a female.

By checking progesterone levels, you will get a better picture of the best time to breed your dog. When the progesterone is at high levels, it is the best time to breed, and this usually occurs if you notice a value between 12-24 nmol/L. If you get the result in this range, it is the best time to breed your dog.

dog and puppy

Why are progesterone levels so important?

By checking progesterone for your female dog, the chances of your dog getting pregnant are significantly higher. Whenever you need to find a stud dog and pay for his services, you want breeding to be successful, and by checking progesterone levels, you will achieve that.

Checking progesterone levels is also recommended for inexperienced and new dog breeders that don’t have much experience with breeding. If they cannot recognize it on their own, and when is the best time for breeding, progesterone testing can help.

These are progesterone levels you can find in your female dog

  1. Anestrus < 3 nmol/L
  2. Late Proestrus is 6-8 nmol/L
  3. LH surge is 8-12 nmol/L
  4. Ovulation is 12-24 nmol/L
  5. Past Ovulation > 24 nmol/L

How to test progesterone in dogs?

There are two most common ways of testing progesterone in your dog, and they are

  1. In-house test
  2. Laboratory test

As you can imagine, the better option would be to take the laboratory testing since it is more precise, and with this test, you will get better and more accurate results. Depending on the lab where the progesterone has been tested, the result can come within one day, but in most cases, you can get them in half an hour.

For the in-house testing, you need to follow the recommended instructions. These tests are pretty easy to run, and everybody can do them. You can expect results within 30 minutes of testing.

Our recommendation would be to go for laboratory testing since it is done by professionals, and the results will be more precise.

golden-retriever and puppy

How many progesterone tests should you do?

If you are an inexperienced dog breeder and you are not sure how exactly the heat cycle is working or what you should look for, our advice would be to test your dog every 1-2 days after 6 days when your dog gets into a heat cycle.

Experienced dog breeders already know when the best testing time is and how the progesterone levels will change, especially if they are testing the same dog.

Here is where your vet could greatly assist, and you just have to listen to his advice. He will recommend how often you should test your dog to find the optimal progesterone level and for your breeding to be successful.

How to know when your female dog is ready to breed?

Experienced dog breeders will be able to notice some changes in behavior that will indicate their dog is ready for matting. If you are not able to recognize those changes, don’t beat yourself up; with breeding and experience, you will also be able to recognize when it is the best time for breeding.

Female dogs should show some changes, and they include

  • pinkish and reddish discharge
  • swollen and soft vulva
  • tail flagging
  • sensitive behavior

Usually, when the female dog is in heat, she will let the male dogs close them, but whenever they try to mate, she will quickly turn and try to protect themselves. Some of them could even act aggressively toward the males.

When the female dog fully allows the male dog to come near, sniff and mate, this is the time when she is fully prepared for matting, and this is also when her progesterone is on a high level.

dog and puppy

Should you do a progesterone test?

Progesterone tests are an excellent way for breeders to make planned breeding. This is especially needed if you need to pay for the stud dog, if you need to travel for matting, or if you are planning artificial insemination.

In all these cases, your expenses could quickly rise, and of course, you want your matting to be successful, and to ensure you have a higher possibility of this happening, checking progesterone levels will greatly help you.

Even if you are an experienced dog breeder, sometimes it can be pretty hard to understand canine progesterone cycles and when should be the best time for breeding. You can always talk to your vet, and he can help you and your dog, so you will end up with successful breeding.

World Dog Finder team

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