When Do Dogs Go Into Their First Heat?

When a female dog enters puberty, she begins her first estrus cycle. Estrus is when your dog goes into heat, and it’s a period during which she is able to become pregnant. When your dog is in heat, her vulva enlarges, and she may leak a bloody discharge from the vagina and mark territory with her urine to advertise her fertility.

What are the signs that your dog is going into heat?

3 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.

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.

Should I let my dog go through her first heat?

Q: Should I let my dog have a heat before I spay her? A: Medically, it’s better to spay your dog before their first heat. It greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors. People who wait to spay their dogs until after their second heat greatly increase the risk of mammary tumors in their pets.

If youve 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 dogespecially if you also have an intact male dogin your home can be a challenge, but knowing what to expect can help prevent problems from arising.

With clues gleaned from your female dogs 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 dogs 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 shes 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.

This page may contain affiliate links. We earn a commission for qualifying purchases at no cost to you. Our mission is to help save dogs‘ and cats lives through our educational content. To help us create more veterinarian- and trainer-approved content, please consider buying one of our web-books for yourself or as a gift.

No matter the reason, it’s important to know what kind of behavior changes you might see as your dog hits sexual maturity. Especially if you have a female dog going into heat, you’ll want to prepare for what that means and have supplies on hand to make your (and her) life easier.

However, many factors other than neuter status play an important role in these outcomes, including breed, sex, genetics, lifestyle, and body condition.” The first heat cycle usually happens between the age of six to sixteen months old but this can vary greatly depending on your dog’s breed. PRO TIP: Ask your breeder when their dogs typically went into heat for the first time, as they can give you an idea of when they usually see females in their breeding lines have their first cycle.

Preventive Vet office pup, Clover the Portuguese Water Dog, went through her first heat cycle before being spayed. She was almost 11 months old when her owners noticed the first visible signs of heat a few drops of bloody discharge on the floor where she’d been sitting. Prior to the physical signs of heat, Clover’s owners had also noticed she’d become more intense in her interactions with other females at the dog park, but didn’t show the same kind of attitude with the males she encountered.

By using disposable pads inside her heat pants , they were able to cut down on how often they needed to launder the cloth diaper. By taking some time before your dog’s spay surgery to desensitize them to wearing a cone , you can make the experience much less stressful. Restless Behavior: You might notice that your dog seems to be on edge, pacing more than usual, or panting excessively.

If your dog seems unusually tired, or not as interested in playing with you, it could be a sign they are beginning their heat cycle. She might start to present her rear and flag her tail to one side when around male dogs as an invitation. If physical signs of heat, primarily swelling of the vulva and discharge, are not present and the condition persists, it is recommended that you have your dog examined by a veterinarian.

When your dog begins to have discharge during her proestrus and estrus phases, having wearable “heat pants” or diaper can help keep your home clean. Female dogs can also feel the need to wander in search of a mate, so you want to make sure they don’t decide to go on an adventure. In addition, an ID tag with your contact information attached to her collar will make it easy for your neighbors to return your girl if she is out galavanting with the boys.

Even when kept separate, your intact male will become stressed as they can still smell a female in season and might go to great lengths in efforts to get to her. Giving your dog lots of outlets for her pent-up energy will go a long way in easing restless behavior. Enrichment activities like puzzle toys can burn off excess energy in appropriate ways and decrease clingy behavior.

Decompression activities, like working on a Licking Mat , are excellent for reducing stress and anxiety your dog might experience during heat. Speak with any prospective boarders or pet sitters about their policies and how they manage boarding intact dogs. Intact males also might tend to mark their territory more frequently or practice humping behavior during play, which often puts them at odds with other dogs.

A female dog reaches sexual maturity at around six months old. The stage of the cycle when shes receptive to mating is called estrus, or heat. During this stage, theres an increase in estrogen levels, then a sharp decrease and then her ovaries release eggs. Although six months old is the average age of a dogs first heat, this can vary widely. Some dogs can go into heat as young as four months, while larger breeds may be as old as two years before their first heat. Responsible breeders never breed a dog on her first or even her second heat. It is considered best practice to wait until her third heat, at about 18-24 months. Your vet will perform any necessary genetic testing and will also be able to tell you when your dog is ready.