Breeding, Reproductive Health Advice

How to Manage Infertility in a Stud Dog

***REGISTER HERE for Dr. Marty Greer’s Stud Dog Webinar: Secrets to a Superstar Stud Dog Part 2. This free webinar will be August 1st, 2024.

In general, reproductive failure and infertility are complex and multi-factorial. Infertility is defined as a reduced ability to produce young, while sterility is defined as a permanent inability to reproduce. Fertility is never guaranteed but the good news is infertility in male dogs is manageable. Your veterinarian can perform testing to assure you have the best possible opportunity to produce a litter.

Determine Dog Semen Quality

How can you tell if a dog’s sperm is good? We start with a semen collection and analysis at a laboratory. A semen analysis should be completed prior to using the semen. There are four important and measurable aspects to dog semen quality:

  1. Dog Sperm Count: A sperm count (should be 10 million x the dog’s weight in pounds). If no sperm are seen, send prostatic fluid to a reference lab for an alkaline phosphatase level.
  2. Sperm Morphology: Morphology assesses the shape and appearance of each sperm cell. To do this the semen should be stained.
  3. Sperm Motility (not mobility): The semen needs to be progressively motile, meaning it swims forward with vigor.
  4. Sperm Longevity: Hold a small sample of semen in the refrigerator and reassess it 24 and 48 hours later. After being warmed up again, semen that is normal and has normal motility should still be swimming, progressively motile, for up to three days.

To perform a semen analysis on a dog the following supplies are used:

How Can I Improve My Dog’s Sperm Quality?

To support improved sperm production and motility, consider supplements like Breeder’s Edge® Oxy Stud™, Breeder’s Edge® Problem Male™, and Breeder’s Edge® Get Him Going™. Each are formulated for the unique needs of a breeding dog and enhances male reproductive performance:

  • Breeder’s Edge Problem Male™ contains perna mussel, DHA, L-carnitine and L-arginine to support the healthy production of sperm. Ashwagandha and maca root are there to support libido.
  • Breeder’s Edge Get Him Going™ contains horny goat weed to help with libido, maca root for vitality, ashwagandha and niacin for energy and health, and sarsaparilla root to reduce inflammation and support hormone regulation.
  • Breeder’s Edge Oxy Stud™ is a dietary supplement that contains a proprietary blend of vitamins, minerals, and all-natural herbs beneficial for the unique needs of male breeding animals during peak breeding season. Important antioxidants help repair damage to testicles and muscle tissue caused by the environment and aging. Herbal ingredients give males more stamina and make them stronger breeders. This exclusive formulation also promotes the overall reproductive health of normal, healthy males and aids in the improvement of semen production.
  • Breeder’s Edge In Between for Him™ fills the nutritional gaps that may exist in the diet of male dogs between breeding cycles by supplying him with B vitamins and iron to maintain higher energy levels and cardiovascular function. Vitamin E supports prostate health and provides antioxidant protection. It provides magnesium and potassium for nerve and muscle function. And contains 23 key vitamins and minerals to support his overall health.

How Will I Know If My Dog Will Be a Good Stud? Perform a Male Diagnostic Workup

After assessing the semen quality, a male diagnostic workup should be done. A proper diagnostic workup for a male dog consists of:

  • A complete medical and reproductive history evaluation.
  • Vaccination history.
  • Prior and current testing for infectious diseases.
  • The health and reproductive history of other dogs in the kennel.
  • Diet and supplements used, including CBD oil and essential oils.
  • Kennel management such as ventilation, chemicals, and cleaning methods. Also, note the surfaces the dogs are housed on; mesh, concrete, asphalt, pea gravel, dirt.
  • Medications, including any parasite control products.
  • A comprehensive physical examination that includes checking the testes and prostate. An ultrasound can also be helpful.
  • Laboratory testing of the semen to analyze the morphology, motility, count, and longevity of the semen.
  • A blood test to evaluate the complete blood count and blood chemistry.
  • Testing for tick-borne diseases and canine brucellosis.

The diagnostics should also include taking a sample of the dog’s urine immediately after ejaculation to see if sperm is present, indicating retrograde ejaculation.

When to Freeze Dog Semen

I recommend freezing semen when your males are young, between two and four years of age. Freeze them while they are healthy and producing great quality semen. It will cost you much less money to freeze their semen while they are young. If they later turn out to have a disorder you don’t want in your breeding program, you can either wait until there is a DNA test you can use to determine how you can use him in your breeding program or discard the semen. If you chose not to keep your dog’s semen preserved, check with your breed club and see if there are others who would value that precious resource.

If you have more questions on male dog fertility or how to improve your dog’s sperm quality, call our Revival Pet Care Pros at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Marty Greer, DVM

Director of Veterinary Services

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.