What Causes Sterility in Dogs?

By Ruthie Bently

Not every dog is capable of creating progeny to leave behind. Either the male or female can be sterile. What causes a dog to be sterile or to become sterile? Canine sterility can be caused by a myriad of things. Some causes of canine infertility can happen to either sex, and some are gender specific.

A female dog comes into heat twice a year for approximately three weeks. A first heat can occur between the age of six weeks and fifteen months, depending on the dog’s breed. Normal heat cycles occur at six month intervals, but can occur from five to eight months apart. If there is more than one female dog in a household, one is dominant and their heat cycle can control the cycles of the other females in the household. Many professionals suggest waiting until a female is over two or has had several heats, as she may not be able to carry the puppies to term. A male dog doesn’t come into “season” like a female, but if he is sexually mature he is capable of fathering puppies.

There are several reasons a female dog might be sterile – she may be too young to have a heat cycle, or it may have irregularities. If her heat cycles are too close together, a female may be sterile. A gynecological exam enables you to make sure your dog is healthy to breed.

A male dog may suffer from low sperm production count, which is known as azoospermia. The dog may not be old enough to produce enough sperm. They may have had an infection that affected their ability to produce sperm. They may just need more time. Your veterinarian can perform a test to determine how much sperm is being produced. A dog’s sexual organs may be under developed or may not have developed properly. He may suffer from hyposexuality and not be attracted to the female. A male dog can also suffer from orchitis, which is an inflammation of the testicles. If not treated in a timely manner, it can lead to sterility.

The food your dog eats may not supply the nutrition they need to be able to reproduce properly. By feeding a premium quality dog food like CANIDAE ALS, which is nutritionally complete for all life stages of your dog, you can prepare your female so she will be healthy if she is to be bred, or your male so he has the stamina he will need. You should also see fewer problems with your female conceiving puppies. Your female should have fewer problems with her pregnancy and after she has whelped the puppies. 

Either gender of dog may be too immature or inexperienced. There may be psychological issues due to previous attempts to mate, or the timing could just be bad. Either dog may be tired, stressed or under the weather. There are some problems that may be caused by health concerns. They may have had an infection that has rendered them sterile (Brucellosis). A dog may have hypothyroidism, which is a lack of the hormone the thyroid gland secretes. The thyroid gland is a member of the adrenal system, which controls the reproductive systems of an organism. Your veterinarian can perform a blood test to determine if thyroid replacement medication is indicated.

If you are not ready to breed your female, there are options. If you choose not to breed your female, you can have her spayed. You will not have to worry about heat cycles, or guarding her against the male dogs in the neighborhood that may come to visit her. If you are going to breed your dog, but want the option to control when and what dog, there is hormonal birth control available for dogs. It comes in an injectable form that is administered every six months. It is also available in a pill form that is administered just before a female comes into heat.

No matter what causes a dog to be sterile, before following any course of action a responsible pet owner should speak with their veterinarian to discuss the best health options for their dog.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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2 thoughts on “What Causes Sterility in Dogs?

  1. My male dog produced one pregnancy resulting in 7 puppies all healthy and then on the next 3 attempt to breed it didn’t take. can anyone tell me how this is possible?

  2. Well I didn’t have to worry about this subject because I have always spayed and neutered all my animals. I just could never afford to have puppies or kittens on purpose. But great information.

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