Dog Pre-Mating Diets & Food
As for the pre-mating diet, there is no reason to make any changes if your bitch is getting a sound, balanced ration. However, do not think that by feeding her on scraps up until the time she is mated and then changing to a well-balanced scientific diet you will get the same results as if she had been fed the correct diet from the start. Both your dog and bitch must be in the best possible form at the time of mating, and to maintain this state, the diet must be good.
Recently a lot has been said for and against the acid-alkali method of preparing the bitch for mating. This was the outcome of the accidental discovery made by a veterinary surgeon in dealing with horses. As a purely sanitary measure he douched the vagina of the mare with a soda solution. As time went on he discovered that he was getting a preponderance of males, while those who did not carry out this preparation were getting a larger percentage of females. This led to experimenting with other animals, including dogs. Then certain facts concerning the period of heat were discovered. It was found that the vagina of the bitch is slightly acid at the beginning of the period, and gradually changes until at the end it is slightly alkaline. This would appear to bear out the theory formerly held, that a bitch mated in the early stages of heat would whelp more females than males, while the converse would be true of one bred in the later stages.
Some kennels are carrying out experiments on this theory at the present time. To do this, a fountain syringe or vaginal douche is all that is necessary. Mix a solution of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), using four to eight ounces of the powder to sixty-four ounces of warm water. This is approximately two to four ounces of powder to one quart of water. After putting vaseline on the nozzle, insert it and douche the vagina thoroughly. This does not hurt the bitch, but if she is inclined to be nervous it is a good thing to have someone hold her while the douching is being carried out.
I have yet to meet the breeder who wanted to produce a larger number of females, so experiments with an acid solution have been largely neglected. If anyone should wish to go to this extent to prove the theory, a weak solution of lactic acid might be used in place of the sodium bicarbonate.