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Can my dog be pregnant after one tie?

Can my dog be pregnant after one tie?

If you have an intact dog, you may be concerned about pregnancy. There are some myths surrounding dog pregnancy and mating. Understanding the truth behind the myths can help you prepare or avoid an unwanted pregnancy. 

Can a dog be pregnant after one tie?

Many people believe a dog can’t get pregnant from one tie. However, the truth is that a dog can get pregnant from one tie. 

The Tie

Watching dogs tie can be amusing, or even disconcerting, depending on how the dogs react. They often seem surprised after they finish the act, and find that they are stuck together. 

The first step of dog copulation is mounting. The male mounts the female, and inserts his penis into her vagina. The male will then move back and forth, a motion commonly known as humping. 

The stimulation from humping causes the male’s penis to enlarge as more blood flows to the tissues. At the base of the penis is the bulbis glandis. This swells up to 3 times its normal size during sex. 

At the same time, the female’s vagina tightens and contracts around the penis and the bulbis glandis. This is what causes the dogs to tie. The penis becomes larger than the vaginal opening, essentially acting as a stopper that prevents the male from removing the penis. 


The male ejaculates in three stages. The first stage begins during the first phase of intercourse, and the male will be thrusting quickly. Pre-sperm is released first. This is composed of prostatic and uretheral fluid. 

It’s believed its purpose is to cleanse the male’s urethra of bacteria before sperm is released. Next is the sperm ejaculate. This will also occur during the thrusting period. This is what actually causes pregnancy in the female, when the sperm fertilizes the egg. 

The third release is prostatic fluid. This is typically released during the tie phase. Its purpose is to push the sperm through the vaginal canal and into the cervix and uterus. It also provides food for the sperm as it makes its journey toward the egg. 

The male may attempt to position himself with his butt to the female during this time. This is the classic tie position. 

Odds of Pregnancy

The odds of getting pregnant from a tie are 40%. Obviously, the more times the dog ties, the higher the odds of pregnancy will be. 

Stages of Heat Cycle

Females have a short window of time to get pregnant. They have two heat cyles a year, with only a few fertile days each time. This balances out their high chances of getting pregnant when they do mate.

Humans, on the other hand, have a lower chance of getting pregnant when they have sex. This is balanced by the female being able to get pregnant a few days each month, instead of only twice a year. 

Proestrus is the beginning stage of heat. The vulva swells. Bleeding begins during this stage. This stage typically lasts 9 days. During this time, the female will show interest in males, but won’t allow them to mount her. 

Estrus is the next stage. Bleeding slows and the vulva softens. She can now breed and get pregnant. She will allow dogs to mount her during this time. It lasts for 9-14 days, but peak fertility lasts for about 5 days. 

Diestrus is the next stage. Hormones begin to return to normal during this stage. If the dog gets pregnant, gestation occurs instead of diestrus. 

The last stage is anestrus. This is the neutral state when the heat is complete. If pregnancy occurs, this stage occurs after birth. 

The First Heat Cycle 

It’s important to know that a female can get pregnant during her first heat cycle. This should be avoided for the health of your dog and puppies. 

A female can go into heat at 6 months of age. However, she is not ready for puppies at this age. Think about your dog’s personality at 6 months. They are still in their puppy phase. They are maturing physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

Physically, growing and feeding pups takes a lot out of a mother. Her body is still growing and developing. Puppies put a big strain on the mother’s system, regardless of age. When she’s not physically mature, her growth and health can be compromised by pregnancy and breast-feeding. 

There’s also a greater chance she will reject the puppies, because she’s not emotionally mature enough. Puppies require constant care. Mothers must be very patient, particularly in the first weeks. 

An unprepared mother may be aggressive with her pups or stop caring for them, because she is still essentially a puppy herself. 

There are also genetic tests that are ideally performed before your female has puppies. These can’t be conducted until she’s between 1 and 2 years of age. These tests are performed to check for undesirable genes. If your dog carries these defective genes, there’s a chance she could pass them on to her pups. 

What Age Should Dogs Breed?

Just like with humans, there’s an age range where dogs should be bred. Males should be at least 1 year old. This ensures that they are mature enough to handle copulation and that their sperm is healthy. Larger breeds take longer to develop. Large breed dogs shouldn’t be bred until they are 18-24 months old. 

When it comes to females, there’s mixed information. It’s clear that a female should never be bred before a year old, or during her first heat cycle. Some experts recommend waiting at least two full heat cycles before mating your female, while others say that 4 is the optimal time to wait before breeding. 

Both males and females lose fertility as they age. Female dogs don’t go through menopause. However, their eggs do become less viable as they age. They may also develop health issues as they age. Both these factors affect their fertility, and their odds of producing a healthy litter. 

Males lose sperm quality as they age. An older male will have lower quality sperm. Just like females, this decreases their fertility and odds of a healthy litter. 

Do dogs have to tie to get pregnant?

Perhaps you caught your dog doing the thing, but interrupted them before they tied. Perhaps they didn’t tie for other reasons. Do you still need to worry about pregnancy? How do you know your dog is pregnant?

Pregnancy Without Tying

No. It’s possible for your dog to get pregnant without tying, but tying increases the chances of pregnancy. Tieing allows the prostatic fluid to flow into the vaginal canal after ejaculation. This helps push the sperm into the uterus, and increases the odds of pregnancy. It also provides nutrition for them on their journey. 

All that is strictly necessary for pregnancy is ejaculation. This occurs before tying. 

Signs of Pregnancy

You can’t pick up a dog pregnancy test from your local pharmacy, unfortunately. Given the short length of the gestation period, it’s surprising it takes so long to confirm a pregnancy in your dog. 

Your vet can confirm a pregnancy at about 25-30 days after conception, which is nearly halfway through the pregnancy! Imagine if you had to wait until you were 4 months pregnant to find out if you had conceived. The wait can be frustrating. 

The most low tech way to determine if your dog is pregnant is palpitation. This should be performed by the veterinarian, because it can injure the puppies if done incorrectly. The vet will feel your dog’s stomach for fluid filled sacs that contain puppies. 

A blood test can also be performed. This looks for relaxin, which is present during pregnancy. 

An ultrasound or x-ray can also confirm pregnancy. These tests have the advantage of telling you how many puppies your dog is carrying. An ultrasound can be performed at 25-30 days. An x-ray is an accurate method for determining the number of pups, but must be performed at 55 days or later. 

Veterinary testing is the most accurate way to determine dog pregnancy. However, you can also watch for signs that suggest your dog is pregnant. 

These signs include an increased appetite, weight gain, enlarged nipples, and stomach swelling. Some dogs get nausea early in pregnancy, and may lose their appetite temporarily. 

There are also behavioral signs to look for. Your dog may be more affectionate or irritable. They may also begin nesting, or preparing a place for their puppies. It’s common for dogs to have less energy as pregnancy progresses. 

Length of Dog Pregnancy

The gestation period for dogs is about 62-64 days. However, determining the date of conception often requires a bit of guess work. Even if you know when your dog tied, this may not be the conception date. Sperm can take days to fertilize the egg after copulation. 

How long do dogs have to tie for to get pregnant?

Does it matter how long dogs tie? Does a longer tie increase the odds of pregnancy?

Tying Timeline and Function

Tying typically takes between 2-30 minutes. It’s not known if a longer tie increases the odds of pregnancy. The main function of tieing is to allow the prostatic fluid to be released. It’s possible that there’s no benefit to tying after this occurs. 

However, it’s also possible that keeping the female in the tie position longer gives the sperm more time to travel into the vagina while she’s in the optimal position. 

How likely is a dog to get pregnant after a tie?

The odds of pregnancy after a tie is 40%. However, there are ways to increase or decrease the odds of pregnancy after a tie. 

Increasing the Odds of Pregnancy

If you want your dog to get pregnant, there are some steps you should take. Sepia 30 is a homeopathic remedy made from cuttlefish or squid ink. 

It is believed to balance hormones, relieve anxiety, and ease mood swings. It can help if your dog refuses to mate due to underlying anxiety, or if hormone fluctuations are making pregnancy difficult. 

A balanced diet can also help your dog get pregnant. A diet high in carbohydrates can cause hormonal imbalances. When your dog eats too many carbs, their sugar will spike.

After the spike, the sugar levels fall. When this occurs, cortisol is released. Cortisol can affect your dog’s hormone levels and estrus cycle. If the estrus cycle is irregular, it will be difficult for your dog to get pregnant. 

Avoiding Pregnancy in Dogs

Your dog accidentally tied with another dog. You don’t want puppies. What do you do? 

Alizin is one option. It’s known as the “mis-mating” injection. It is effective if given in the first 22 days after mating. It can be used later during pregnancy, but may not be effective.

Alizin is an anti-progesterone compound. It destroys the fertilized cells or embryo before they have a chance to develop. 

Lastly, you can seek an abortion from your veterinarian. This is risky. Your dog may need to spend a week under veterinary observation after an abortion. It can be performed with medication or a surgical procedure.