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When a female dog is “in heat,” it means she is ovulating and can breed and get pregnant. Dogs can go into heat when they are as young as 6-8 months of age, which means if they go into heat and have sex with a male dog, then they can get pregnant, even if they themselves are growing still.

If you have a female dog that has not been spayed, i.e. had the surgery that will remove ovaries and uterus and make it impossible for her to get pregnant, then she will go into heat. The first heat cycle often is missed by pet parents, which is why many veterinarians advocate for spay surgery at 6 months of age to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Heat cycles vary depending on the dog’s age, size and breed. Diestrus lasts around 8 weeks, and the female is no longer fertile or receptive to males. If you have an unspayed female dog who is experiencing heat cycles, then you must prepare ahead of time to prevent unwanted pregnancies, bloody messes, escapes or aggression. On your phone, record the day your dog’s heat cycle started, and then set a reminder for 6 months in the future with a 1-week alert ahead of time so you know it is coming. Alternatively, you can purchase human diapers and make them dog-friendly by cutting a hole for her tail. It’s important to keep her supervised at all times or contained in a crate or other secure enclosure that she cannot get out of and other dogs cannot get in. If your dog accidentally mates during her heat cycle, there is a ‘morning after’ injection that will terminate an unwanted pregnancy. If you must take her out, make sure she is on a secure leash, and bring a spray bottle filled with water to ward off any would-be wooers. If you plan to spay your dog, wait until one month after her heat cycle ends. With proper attention and tools, your dog’s heat cycle can be easy to manage. A: Proestrus and estrus, the heat phases during which a dog has bloody discharge, can last between 1 and 3 weeks. Use doggie diapers to keep messes to a minimum, and unless she initiates interactions with you, give her space. A: Typically, female dogs will have a swollen vulva and bloody vaginal discharge when they are in heat. A: When a dog is in heat, the uterus is big, bloody and fragile due to hormones.

How do you get a dog out of heat?

Surgery is the only way to permanently stop a dog’s heat cycle. ….Medicines can suppress a dog’s heat cycle for a short-term solution. ….Dogs usually have two heat cycles a year.

How long does a dog in heat bleed?

You may also observe that her vulva is large, red, or swollen with some bleeding or blood-tinted discharge. Your dog will only bleed for around half of the total cycle, usually 7 to 10 days. Generally, bigger dogs bleed more than smaller dogs, but it varies between dogs. Some dogs bleed very little.

What to give a dog that is on heat?

Many female dogs may lose their appetite during their heat. Giving extra treats, some meat baby food with no garlic or onion, may help entice her to eat. If your dog gets diarrhea during her heat, try to feed some boiled hamburger with the fat drained off, with lots of rice.

How long does a dog's first heat last?

Heat usually lasts between 2-4 weeks. Early in the cycle, a female dog may not be receptive to male dogs, although some are receptive through the entire cycle. It can be shorter or longer and you’ll know the cycle is over when all her vulva returns to its normal size and there’s no more bleeding or discharge.

There comes a time in the life of an intact female dog when they’re ready to breed. This period is called being in heat. The stage of heat, also called estrus or season, has distinct physical and behavioral signs.

Many of the estrus factors, such as frequency, length of time, and severity, are dependent on your dog’s age and breed. If your dog prides themselves on their appearance and grooms themselves regularly, you probably won’t find much blood spotting around the house. Even though they are old enough to get pregnant, your young dog’s eggs aren’t yet fully matured. Continued Similar to the start time, the exact frequency of estrus depends on your dog’s size, breed, and age . She will start attracting male dogs, but she isn’t ready to mate yet. If your dog is in heat, she’ll require a bit of extra supervision and care. If you’re worried about your dog bleeding around the house, you can create a limited space for her to roam in. Continued Creating a nest for your dog to nap in with towels to catch the blood will help prevent any accidents from occurring.

If you’ve ever had an unspayed female dog in your home before, chances are you bought mountains of doggy diapers. Unlike cats, dogs experience more discharge during their heat cycle, or estrus phase, but that is only one of the signs indicating your pooch is ready to mate. Having an unspayed dog—especially if you also have an intact male dog—in your home can be a challenge, but knowing what to expect can help prevent problems from arising.

By Melissa Murray Reviewed by Jennifer Coates If you’ve ever had an unspayed female dog in your home before, chances are you bought mountains of doggy diapers. With clues gleaned from your female dog’s physical appearance and behavior, you can determine which stage of her heat cycle she is experiencing. Signs seen during this phase include a swollen vulva, blood-tinged discharge, excessive licking of the genital area, clingy behavior, and aggression toward male dogs. Diestrus: This phase occurs directly after the “in heat” stage and allows your dog’s body to either return to normal or develop into pregnancy. Although your dog may have excellent obedience skills, her recall ability may fall by the wayside when she’s influenced by her hormones and is intent on finding a male. If the unthinkable happens and your dog escapes from your yard or runs off, ensure you can be reunited with legible, updated ID tags and current microchip contact info. Occasionally, a female dog can experience health issues after a heat cycle when the uterine lining remains thickened and produces more fluid, creating the ideal environment for bacterial growth. A pet with a pyometra may drink excessively, have a fever, vaginal discharge, decreased appetite, or appear lethargic.

When Do Dogs Go Into Heat?

When a female dog is “in heat,” it means she is ovulating and can breed and get pregnant. Dogs can go into heat when they are as young as 6-8 months of age, which means if they go into heat and have sex with a male dog, then they can get pregnant, even if they themselves are growing still.The first heat cycle often is missed by pet parents, which is why many veterinarians advocate for spay surgery at 6 months of age to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Heat cycles vary depending on the dog’s age, size and breed. Small dog breeds can cycle every 3-4 months, medium and large breeds typically cycle every 6 months, and giant breeds may only cycle every 6-12 months. Older female dogs may cycle less often than younger dogs. Bleeding during proestrus typically lasts around 7 days.

Signs of a Dog in Heat

There are 4 stages, or heat periods, in a dog’s heat cycle: proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus.

How to Prevent Pregnancy in a Dog in Heat

If you have an unspayed female dog who is experiencing heat cycles, then you must prepare ahead of time to prevent unwanted pregnancies, bloody messes, escapes or aggression. Here are some best practices:

When Does Estrus Start?

Keep a leash handy, because your dog may have to urinate more when she’s in heat. You may also observe that her vulva is large, red, or swollen with some bleeding or blood-tinted discharge.Your dog will only bleed for around half of the total cycle, usually 7 to 10 days. Generally, bigger dogs bleed more than smaller dogs, but it varies between dogs. Some dogs bleed very little. If your dog prides themselves on their appearance and grooms themselves regularly, you probably won’t find much blood spotting around the house.Your dog’s behavior will likely change as well. She may:Even though your dog will bleed, she isn’t in pain during heat. However, being in heat can make your dog uncomfortable and fidgety. If her symptoms seem to be causing her pain, consult your vet.

Continued

How Often Do Dogs Go Into Heat?

Similar to the start time, the exact frequency of estrus depends on your dog’s size, breed, and age. Female dogs who have not been spayed go into heat twice a year, around every 6 months. Each heat cycle lasts around 18 days, for generally anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks.The frequency depends on your dog, but her estrus cycles should be consistent. If these are inconsistent, your vet can determine if your dog has irregular seasons.As your dog gets older, the frequency of her seasons may slow down. However, she will be going into heat for her whole life. Even though she goes into heat less often, she can still get pregnant.

The Estrus Cycle

The canine estrus cycle has four stages:1.2.3.4.

Care

If your dog is in heat, she’ll require a bit of extra supervision and care. She’ll be feeling hormonal. Keeping her entertained and distracted will help relieve some of her anxiety and discomfort. Extra walks will also help her to reduce stress.Not only will she be attracting male dogs, but she’ll be attracted back! To avoid pregnancy, you’ll probably want to keep her away from other non-neutered dogs. This is true even in your own household.If you’re worried about your dog bleeding around the house, you can create a limited space for her to roam in. This usually means restricting her to easy-to-clean areas without carpeted floors or upholstered furniture.

When Should I Expect My Dog’s First Heat?

The age of a dog’s first heat cycle varies greatly between breeds. Toy breeds can come into heat for the first time as young as four months, while large and giant breeds may be as old as two years before experiencing a first heat cycle. On average, most dogs will have their first heat cycle between six and 15 months of age.

What are the Four Stages of the Canine Heat Cycle?

The more aware you are of your dog’s cycle, the more prepared you will be for any physical and behavioral changes that may occur during her heat. During each phase of her heat cycle, you will notice different changes, and they may include the following seven signs:With clues gleaned from your female dog’s physical appearance and behavior, you can determine which stage of her heat cycle she is experiencing.

How Often Will My Dog Go into Heat?

Dogs have an average of two heat cycles per year, roughly six months apart. Some females will have irregular cycles, especially if they are very young or very old. Small breeds may cycle three times per year, while giant breeds may only cycle once every 12 months. Unlike some other species, canine estrous cycles are not dependent on the seasons, sunlight, or temperature.