Sexual maturity is a very important topic in the life of your beloved dog so you should be properly informed about the changes that happen in their bodies and how you can help your dog go through this time more easily.
Your dog’s first heat cycle should come around with puberty, which shows up in the female dog at about six months of age, but there are breeds that go in heat from 4 months of age. This depends a lot on the size and breed of your dog because large breeds tend to take up to 2 years to get in heat for the first time.
This is the time when the female dog is receptive to mating. She’ll try to make herself remarked, and she’ll present herself to possible matches by raising her rump and holding her tail to the side.
The canine heat cycle
This hormonal cycle is composed of four parts; Anoestrus, Proestrus, Oestrus, and Dioestrus. Anoestrus is the period when the female is not in heat. Proestrus is the first part of her heat cycle when her uterus is getting ready for pregnancy, and she may start bleeding.
Oestrus is the second part of her heat cycle when she becomes fertile, her discharge may become paler and watery, and she will be willing to let a male dog mate with her. Dioestrus is the part of the cycle where the female dog can become pregnant.
When does the dog heat cycle start?
As we mentioned, dogs can come into heat from the age of four months depending on the breed and size, but it can also take up to 2 years for your dog to hit puberty if it is a giant or large breed. It is not recommended to breed your dog during their first or second cycle because their eggs aren’t mature enough. If you are planning to breed your dog, you should check a vet’s advice on when your furry friend is mature enough and ready for this big step.
How often does a female dog go into heat?
A female dog goes into heat on average once or twice a year, every six months. This period of time can vary depending on their breed, size, and diet. When cycling first begins it is normal for there to be great time variability in between the cycles. Female dogs may take up to 2 years to develop a regular cycle.
What are the signs of dogs in heat?
The most obvious sign is bleeding, which occurs after 2-3 days after the female has actually come into oestrus. Vulvar swelling is another telling sign, which can be determined by whether the female pays increased attention to her rear end, such as licking the area or excessively grooming it.
How long are dogs in heat?
Heat usually lasts between 2-4 weeks. There is a specific period of time during your dog’s cycle when she is most fertile, and it might begin 9 or 10 days after she goes into heat and lasts up to five days, but she can still get pregnant until the end of her cycle.
Don’t think that once the bleeding seems to stop you are in the clear! Each dog cycle takes up to 4 weeks, but you only see bleeding during the first two weeks. The fertile period is actually when the discharge starts to subside and the quantity has decreased.
How to take care of your dog when she is in heat
You shouldn’t leave your female dog outside without being guarded. Male dogs can be aggressive, and it is known that they can jump fences and dig to reach a mate. Keeping female dogs inside will eliminate the potential risk of an unwanted pregnancy.
Keeping a female dog inside while she is in heat can be messy and quite smelly too, so make sure to assign your dog a special place where she should spend most of her time. Cover your sofas and carpets with protective sheets and make sure your dog doesn’t get bored. Built-up energy can turn into aggressive behavior so make sure your furry friend gets enough exercise and fresh air while being closely taken care of.
Does this last their whole lifetime?
Unlike humans, female dogs experience oestrus throughout their whole lives, but the time between cycles gets longer. Most pet owners choose to spay their female dogs before their first heat. Experts suggest that this reduces the risk of mammary cancer and other negative conditions, eliminating the possibility of unwanted litters.
How long does pregnancy last in female dogs?
Pregnancies last in general about nine weeks, but pregnancy is impossible to be discovered in the first three weeks. An experienced vet may be able to palpate and feel the fetuses in the uterus of a female dog in the first 32 days of pregnancy, but an X-ray is efficient only at about six weeks of pregnancy when the fetal skeletons become calcified.
How to prevent female dog pregnancies?
The best way to prevent your female dog from getting pregnant is by having her surgically sterilized, a procedure which is called ovariohysterectomy or ”spaying” before she has her first cycle. Because it is impossible to know exactly when your dog will have her first cycle, it is recommended to perform an ovariohysterectomy before she is 6-7 months of age.
Overall, the heat cycle of female dogs is an extremely important period in the life of your beloved pet. Make sure you offer her the right type of attention, by nurturing, providing her with a healthy diet and making sure she gets enough exercise. If you have any other questions or issues, address your vet immediately for the best treatment.