How to Tell If Your Dog’s In Heat
Estrus, or heat, is the stage in a female dog's reproductive
cycle during which she becomes receptive to mating with males. At this time,
estrogen levels first increase and then sharply decrease, and mature eggs are
released from the ovaries. Ideally, your dog should be spayed before she enters
her first heat cycle.
When Does A Dog Experience Her First Estrus?
First estrus generally occurs when an unspayed female dog is between six and
24 months old. It tends to occur earlier for small-breed dogs and later for
How Often Do Dogs Go Into Heat?
Although it varies with different breeds and individual dogs, an unspayed
female usually goes into heat twice yearly, about every six months.
How Long Does a Dog Stay in Heat?
The time during which male dogs are attracted to a female dog is variable,
approximately 18 days. However, females are receptive to males for only about
half of this time.
How Can I Tell if My Dog Is In Heat?
During estrus, your female dog may appear nervous, easily
distracted and more alert than usual. She may also urinate more often than she
normally does. You’ll most probably notice changes in her behavior; this is
caused by a shift in her hormone balance. When a female dog is ready to be
bred, she may initiate sexual interactions with other dogs, elevate her hind
quarters toward males when they approach, deflect her tail to one side and
tense her rear legs.
At first, vaginal discharge is blood-tinged and the vulva is swollen. When the
female is receptive to males, vaginal discharge decreases in amount and is
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Going Into Heat?
It is highly recommended that you get your female dog spayed, not only to
prevent estrus and accidental pregnancy, but to protect her against breast
cancer and diseases of the reproductive system.
At What Age Can I Have My Dog Spayed?
Generally, a veterinarian can spay a dog when she is as young as two months
old. However, it is best to consult with your veterinarian for specific
recommendations regarding the best time to spay your dog.
Why Should I Spay My Dog?
Aside from the toll it takes on your dog to give birth to a
litter and raise pups, the number of homeless animals who are euthanized each
year makes it an irresponsible decision to allow your dog to mate. (This does
not apply to those who are active in canine sporting events, and are
knowledgeable about the care of pregnant dogs and nursing puppies.) Though many
people have heard that there are health benefits in allowing a dog to have a
litter before she is spayed, this belief is unsubstantiated. In fact, the
rigors of giving birth and raising pups can lead to premature aging and, in
some cases, death. It has also been shown that dogs who are spayed prior to
their first heat cycle have a much reduced risk for mammary gland tumors.