Author: Peter Laskay
As a female dog owner, you will definitely be interested in how long the heat cycle lasts for dogs and what to look for in such cases. Well, you’re actually in the perfect place. In this article, you can get the answers to all the important questions about your dog’s period.
What is heat exactly?
Oestrus, also known as heat, is a phase of the reproductive cycle in female dogs. This is a period during which they can conceive.
This is a very complex biological process in which the estrogen levels in dogs increase (and then decrease).
Meanwhile, the eggs are also released from the ovaries, which essentially allows the dog to get pregnant.
Are there any signs that my dog is in heat?
Heat also has physical and behavioral signs. Physical signs include bleeding and various secretions, as well as a swollen vulva. The color of the secretion changes during the cycle. When your dog is ready to mate, the initial red discharge will turn yellow-brown straw.
Behavioral signs can be diverse and vary from dog to dog. You may not notice anything, but it is common for your pup to become nervous, tense, confused, or overly alert.
These mainly happen when there is a male dog nearby. In such cases, it is not uncommon for female dogs to turn their hind halves toward males.
At what age do female dogs start going into heat?
This tends to vary from breed to breed and is related to size. Small or toy-sized dogs can start going into heat as early as four months of age.
This age can be as long as one and a half to two years for large and giant breeds. But on average, for most dogs, the first event is due around the age of six months.
Heat in females means sexual maturity. Most people tend to ask about the first cycle because of breeding.
Well, experts advise that it is definitely worth waiting for at least the third cycle because that’s when your dog’s body becomes really prepared for offspring. You should also consult your veterinarian about this matter.
How long do these heat cycles last?
Of course, this also varies from dog to dog, but overall, the average cycle time is 2-4 weeks. During this time, the dog is most fertile from about the 10th day, and this fertility window lasts for 4-5 days.
Of course, that doesn’t mean she can’t get pregnant for the rest of the cycle. However, it is better to be aware of this time interval if your goal is the most optimal breeding.
Otherwise, you will know the exact end of the cycle, as your dog’s vulva will return to normal size, and there will be no more bleeding or other discharge.
Do dogs go into heat for the rest of their lives?
Yes, female dogs are sexually mature and can go into heat for the rest of their lives. However, the time intervals between cycles may vary.
Small breed dogs experience oestrus up to 3-4 times a year, and large breed dogs (e.g., Saint Bernards) experience oestrus every year and a half.
You should expect that the first few cycles will not be regular. It can also be observed that the time intervals between these cycles may lengthen over the years. If you want to be really careful, you might want to keep a “heat diary” of your dog.
Is there anything I should do when my dog is in heat?
Remember, dogs are animals and are unable to resist their biological instincts effectively. Therefore, you need to be very careful if your dog is in heat.
Keep her away from intact male dogs. Please do not leave her alone and always use a leash while walking. If you want to avoid unwanted pregnancies, spay your female dog and neuter your male dog in your household.
Bleeding and body exudates are also a problem. I have a few tips to avoid clutter: you can use a dog diaper or crate your pooch for this short period of time.
It is also a solution if you restrict walking to different places. But at the same time, it is essential that you show a lot of love in her direction; believe me, she will need it a lot. Because of hormones, female dogs change their behavior and become much more sensitive. With proper care, you can make this procedure easier for everyone.
Going into heat is a natural biological process in female dogs. The main purpose of my article was to describe the duration of the process, but I also tried to give you other important information.
I would like you to know that personally, I am very supportive of neutering dogs as this will avoid unwanted pregnancies. Animal shelters are full of puppies who may never have an owner and a loving family. Leave the breeding to professional breeders.