Breeding can often be a confusing process, especially for first-timers. With so much misinformation on the loose, its difficult to manage your senses and you often feel at a loss at what to do.

Fortunately, progesterone testing can fix that problem.

What Is A Progesterone Test For Dogs?

The progesterone test is a quantitative and is single-handedly the most accurate way to pinpoint the best day to mate your dog. If this is combined with observing behaviour around a sexually active male canine, the possibility of a failed pregnancy is minimised.

Moreover, the results of the test are displayed in a numeric format, meaning it is understandable to all breeders. Canine Scanning absolutely recommend this test to everyone who is considering mating their bitch.

Do I Need A Progesterone Test?

The ovulation test is most commonly used by breeders who are subject to large stud fees and require some sort of guarantee that their bitch had the correct progesterone levels; if their bitch does not become pregnant, but had the correct progesterone levels, the fault is usually the stud dog.

The machine we use to test progesterone levels is state-of-the-art veterinary grade and operated by veterinary professionals.

Results are available in just 30 minutes.

Canine Scanning also specialises in cytology testing, which involves taking swabs from your female dog to test for the four stages of the oestrous (reproductive) cycle. Canine cytology is a budget alternative to progesterone testing. However, canine cytology doesn’t offer the same levels of accuracy. A little extra investment offers the best value for money and peace of mind overall.

When Should I Progesterone Test My Dog?

The timing of your progesterone tests play a large role in having a successful mating/breeding. To ensure we can monitor your bitch’s progesterone levels accurately and optimally, we suggest that you book a progesterone test on the 6th or 7th day of your bitch’s season.

For example, if your bitch entered heat and began bleeding on the 1st of January, we would recommend a test on the 6th or 7th of January.

We suggest testing on day 6/7 as this allows our machine to analyse the progesterone and provides insights into a baseline level of progesterone of which we can then further monitor to pinpoint ovulation.

Understanding Progesterone Results

When you’re paying for stud fees, transport, chilled semen, and artificial insemination, you want to be sure that your bitch is 100% ready to breed. Here’s the best way to interpret progesterone test results.

The most difficult part about monitoring the canine reproduction system is that it is incredibly different to any other species. This makes it harder to apply concurrent aspects of our reproduction system, for example, to our pets. In fact, even some professionals do not understand the canine progesterone cycles; the information on this page is very valuable!

Progesterone Test for Dogs

The Strous Cycle

The beginning period of the strous cycle is “Proestrus”. At this point, the estrogen levels of the bitch begin to rise. The actual progesterone levels are negligible, often less than 3ng/ml.

However, this point in time is still vital to testing a bitch; this is when a baseline test should take place. Our own research has found this to happen at around day 7/8 of a season, but can be as early day 4, and as late as day 20.

With a bitch of whom has started this cycle out of the blue, a progesterone test baseline should be gathered on day 6 or 7 of her season.

The Estrus Cycle

The next stage of the cycle is “Estrus”. It is at this point the bitch enters her fertile period – the stage at which she may be mated. Ideally, her progesterone levels should rise above the previous (3ng/ml) and she will likely garner much more interest from sexually active males. Sometimes, the bitch may also show interest in the stud dog.

You mustn’t confuse this short yet sharp rise with the true rise, of which is yet to come.

During this time, it is essential to follow the advice and guidance of the fertility specialist. Bitches are only fertile for a small amount of days during this period – not the entire time!

The progesterone levels should continue to rise above 3ng/ml, therefore continuous testing should also take place.


Here’s where it gets interesting; you may find a point where the bitch’s levels surface at around 2.5-3.5ng/ml.

Some may remain higher, some may remain lower.

Regardless, the key aspect you are looking for is a sharp rise. On average, this occurs at around 5ng/ml, but varies from dog to dog.

Once there is a sharp rise, the bitch’s ovary has released an egg. But this is not when you should mate the bitch.

Dogs have very different reproductive systems; upon ovulation in a bitch, the eggs are not mature. The maturing process happens over a couple of days – 48 hours to be exact.

This is a vital point to make as if you choose to use frozen or chilled sperm, it may not be viable if inseminated too early.

The breeding time must occur when the eggs have matured, as guessing how long semen will survive in the reproductive tract is very much a dangerous game.

Now, do note that some reproduction specialist may inquire for more tests. Although most bitches see a rise after 5ng/ml, some don’t.

Your bitch could level out at 5ng/ml then ris to 8ng/ml. It would be at this point that eggs have been released (but are not yet mature).

If you are opting to inseminate with chilled semen, you should delay insemination for at least 48 hours after ovulation. This is because chilled semen will statistically not last as long in the tract as fresh semen. Quality of sperm may also be lower, therefore it would be advised to maximise the chances of pregnancy.


After ovulation, a bitch’s progesterone levels will still continue to rise. Most testing machines will display “H”, indicating the testing parameters are too low to pick up on such a high progesterone level (which is often 50ng/ml+)

The next step would be to monitor any behavioural changes your bitch may incur. They are often very indicative of a successful mating and pregnancy.

Veterinary Progesterone Test Near Me

Canine Scanning are also proud to offer a veterinary progesterone testing service in locations across the U.K. Our specialist surgeons are here to assist dog owners throughout the country with breeding their dog. Our progesterone services are 100% accurate and compliment with other surgeries across the country. Moreover, our veterinary clinic offers other useful dog breeding services such as artificial insemination, ultrasound scanning, dog sperm donors, and more.

After conducting a progesterone test on your bitch, you may have a date to breed her. Breedings typically take place twice to ensure there is enough high quality sperm to impregnate your female. We recommend that you do not naturally mate your dog, and instead choose to artificially inseminate her. This is because there are a number of risks with naturally breeding a dog, such as:

  • STI contraction
  • Lengthy breeding times
  • Swelling of the penis
  • Hygiene risks
  • And more.

On the other hand, artificial insemination minimises all above risks, and combined with veterinary progesterone testing it often results in a larger and healthier litter size.

If you are searching for veterinary progesterone testing services, then please do not hesitate to contact us using the form below. We have specialised in dog breeding for over 30 years, meaning we have plenty of experience and love to see our customers happy.

Book An Ovulation Test Today

If you would like to book a progesterone test with us, please feel free to call us on the number below. Alternatively, please fill in the form below and we will get back to you at our earliest convenience.