If you are considering on getting a pet dog, your first big decision is whether to get a male or a female. If you decide on a female, there are factors you must take into consideration. Do you want to breed your dog? What will you do if your dog becomes pregnant? Or do you plan on getting your dog spayed? You will want to know the answer to many questions. Such as when will my dog into heat? How long does a dog stay in heat? Here you will learn valuable information about your dog being in heat. When getting a female dog, this is information that every pet dog owner needs to know.
- 1 What A Dog In Heat Actually Means
- 2 Beginning Of The Heat Cycle
- 3 How Long Does A Dog Stay In Heat?
- 4 Signs and Symptoms
- 5 Preventing Your Dog From Becoming Pregnant
- 6 Mismating
- 7 The Different Stages Of A Dog’s Heat Cycle
- 8 The Tie
- 9 The Overall Conclusion
What A Dog In Heat Actually Means
If you have a female puppy, you are probably questioning the dog’s heat cycle. Your dog will be experiencing hormonal differences which will cause her to act out of her ordinary behavior. Her emotions will change, she will tend to act nervous as well as more alert.
A dog being in heat is also known as a dog’s estrus cycle. This is the dog’s reproductive cycle. It is technically a female dog’s version of a woman’s menstrual cycle. It is the time when a female dog can become pregnant and will mate with a male counterpart.
Beginning Of The Heat Cycle
Overall it depends on the size and the breed of the dog. Generally, a dog comes into her fist cycle of heat anywhere from 6 months to 24 months. Smaller breeds of dogs begin their estrus cycle much sooner than larger breed of dogs. Small breeds of dogs tend to start their cycle beginning at 6 months and on. Medium sized dogs typically start their heat cycle between 12 and 18 months of age. Larger breeds of dog don’t usually start their estrus cycle ranging anywhere from 18 months to 24 months. There had even been cases of giant breeds of dogs not going into heat the first time until they are 30 months old. This is highly uncommon but not unheard of.
How Long Does A Dog Stay In Heat?
A female dog will go into heat approximately every 6 months. That equals out to having about 2 estrus cycles per year. The 2 cycles often tend to happen between January and March and the second between August and October.
A dog will stay in heat close to 18 days. Although, the length of the cycles can range anywhere from 14 days clear up to 24 days, all depending on your dog’s individual cycle pattern.
The dog’s intervals can also vary due to the size and breed of the dog, Large breeds of dogs may only go into one estrus one time per year. Meanwhile, smaller breeds of dogs can into heat up to 3 times per year.
A female dog’s cycle has to be regulated just as a female woman’s menstrual cycle does. When a puppy goes into heat, it can take up to 2 whole years for her cycle to become normal and follow a specific pattern. Do not be alarmed if your dog’s estrus cycle is irregular for the first couple years, it will become regulated after some time.
If you are planning on breeding your dog. Professional breeders and veterinarians strongly advise not to breed your female dog until she has gone through her first and second heat cycles. This is because the dog has not yet reached full maturity. Being that she is having her first estrus cycle does prove that she has reached puberty but is not yet fully mature enough to become a mother. Their eggs are not mature enough yet. If you want to breed, your veterinarian will be able to tell you when your dog is physically mature and capable of having a litter of puppies.
An important thing to remember is even though the dog’s heat cycle can be 2 or 3 weeks long, the female dog is not receptive to male dogs for that entire amount of time. In fact, a female dog is only receptive to her male counterpart for about half of that time. If you are planning on breeding, your veterinarian will be able to tell you the best days (normally it is around a 5 day period) for your dog to be receptive to a male dog.
Signs and Symptoms
A dog will act differently when she is about to go into heat. There will also be visible signs if you can’t seem to tell by her personality.
As previously mentioned, her hormonal balance is different which will have an effect on her behavior. She will appear to be extremely anxious and alert. You may also notice that she is more irritable around certain people or around other pets. Just as a woman becomes cranky and irritable during her menstrual cycle, female dogs are no different.
Physically, she could show many different signs of going into heat. For one, she will urinate much more frequently than usual. On top of this, the first thing that a dog owner normally notices is a bloody vaginal discharge. Some dogs have very little discharge, while other dogs seem to bleed in excessive amounts. Overall, the discharge amount depends on the individual dog. It may be hard to see a bloody vaginal discharge on dogs that have dark hair especially if their hair is long. In certain cases, a pet dog owner will not even be able to see the bloody vaginal discharge for several days after the dog’s cycle has begun, even when they know what to look for. Some dogs no longer have an appetite either. Every dog has different symptoms and signs.
The first symptom that your dog will show is swelling of the external vulva. Even though this is the first sign, it is not always noticeable by the dog’s owner. The female dog will also have a tendency to lick her swollen vulva. If you see your dog licking herself down there more than she usually does, continue to observe and you will most likely begin to see other signs that she is going into heat.
A tell-tale sign that your girl is in heat is the way she will act around male dogs. If a female dog is ready to mate, she will initiate sexual advances towards male dogs. If you do not want her to become pregnant, keep your female dog inside while she is in heat. If she is outside in the yard, even if you have a fence, she will find a way to escape. That is guaranteed, she will go that extra mile to find a male to have intercourse with. When she is making sexual advances, she will raise her hind end towards a male dog as he approaches her. She will then curve and wag her tail and strongly tense her rear legs to say she is ready for action.
Preventing Your Dog From Becoming Pregnant
Besides locking your dog in the house when she is in heat, there is only one effective way of preventing an unwanted pregnancy. Even if you have her in a fenced in yard, if she is in heat, she will find a way to escape. Male dogs will be beckoning her. They will be running to each other. It’s pure animal instinct.
If you do not want to find out how long your dog stays in heat, have her surgically sterilized or spayed. A spay operation, scientifically known as an ovariohysterectomy is the only way to prevent an accidental pregnancy in your dog.
A veterinarian will tell you when your dog reaches the appropriate age to be spayed. Some vets say a dog can be spayed as young as 2 months old. While other veterinarians tend to persuade pet owners to wait a little longer. No matter what the vet’s personal opinion is they agree that female dogs should be spayed before their first reproductive cycle begins.
Having your dog spayed has numerous benefits. If you are not planning on breeding your dog, do her and yourself a favor and have her spayed. It will protect her from diseases of the reproductive system, and immensely lower the risk for both breast cancer and tumors in the mammary gland.
Pregnancy can also be very hard on a female dog. Some dogs are not ready to become mothers or for other reasons they kill their own puppies. Sometimes labor is just too hard for a female dog to endure and can injure her for life or even possible cause her death. You must take all of this into consideration when getting a female dog.
Being that your dog is a beloved household pet, get her spayed. Accidentally pregnancy in dogs can lead to adding more puppies to the already outrageous overpopulated number of dogs. Every year, shelters euthanize dogs for no other reason than the fact that nobody wants them. Do the right thing. If you are not professional breeding your dog, take her to have a spayed operation.
If your dog is in heat and you do not want her to become pregnant, be careful. Keep a close eye on her. It is not only your female dog that you need to worry about. You must be considered about the prying male suitors. The male dogs in the neighborhood will be able to smell when your female dog is in heat. If they come around and your female dog tucks her tail in between her legs, she is not ready. It means she is protecting herself because she is not ready to accept a mate yet and have coitus. Now we do realize people have other obligations besides pet sitting their dog while she is in heat. You can’t keep an eye on her every second around the clock. So what do you do if she becomes accidentally pregnant? Or even worse, you are going to mate her but she has already mated with a neighboring male dog of a different breed. You are quite upset because you want purebred puppies, you have a stud lined up and ready to go.
The first thing that you need to do is contact your local veterinarian. Your vet can actually give your dog a mismating injection 1 to 2 days after the mismating occurs. Your veterinarian will explain the details, there are risks associated with the injection. As said, it is an injection but, it is similar to a human’s morning after pill, and will abort the accidental pregnancy.
The Different Stages Of A Dog’s Heat Cycle
If you want to know how long does a dog stay in heat for, you must first understand the dog’s entire cycle of being in heat. While all dogs have their own individual heat cycle that will vary in overall length, the time it will occur, and the symptoms that the dog will have. The fact remains that every dog’s heat cycle follows specific guidelines. Although they differ in certain aspects, they are all very much the same.
There are 4 stages in a dog’s heat cycle. A dog’s heat cycle is different than any other species’s reproductive cycle. It does not start or follow the changes in temperature or the seasons of the year. A canine’s heat cycle simply occurs, there is no rhyme or reason to it. Until a dog’s estrus cycle becomes regulated which can take a couple of years. A dog going into heat will be highly unpredictable, you won’t know until it happens. Once your dog’s cycle becomes regular you will know how long a dog does stay in heat and then you can be prepared. Some owners section off an area of their house if their dog is a heavy bleeder. Others will simply purchase a package of dog diapers. The clean up is completely the dog owner’s responsibility.
The four stages of a dog’s heat cycle are proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus. Once, you understand the dog’s entire heat cycle, you will be prepared to know the answer to your original question. “How long does a dog stay in heat?” Now the four distinct phases will be explained.
This is the first stage. Proestrus usually lasts 7 to 10 days. This is when the dog’s external vulva will swell and appear to be puffy. You will notice a bloody discharge and more frequent urination. Your dog will lick herself rather often. She does this to keep herself clean. This is when the hormonal imbalance begins to occur leaving your dog’s emotions in disarray. She can become moody and irritable, the same as a woman does during her monthly cycle. Males will start becoming extremely interested in your female dog. Right now, she is too emotionally out of sorts to show any interest in them, yet. The key word being yet.
Estrus is the second phase of the heat cycle, commonly lasting 5 to 10 days. This phase is also known as the “standing heat” phase. This is due to the fact that the female is ready to mate and will stand still allowing a male to mount her. This stage will noticeably take place as the dog’s bloody discharge lightens up and is replaced by a straw colored discharge. This signals the start of the estrus phase.
Diestrus is the third phase of the heat cycle. The mating is now over. Females are no longer interested sexually in male dogs. If the female has been impregnated, the diestrus cycle will last an estimated 60 days, beginning from the time she was impregnated until the moment her puppies are born.
If the female dog is not pregnant, this stage is no different that the fourth and final phase, anestrus.
Anestrus is considered the last and final phase of a dog’s heat cycle. Anestrus is also the longest lasting phase. Generally ranging anywhere from 100 to 150 days. This is simply a resting time for the dog’s reproductive system. No sexual contact is occurring. Her ovaries and other reproductive organs are actually preparing for the proestrus or the beginning phase of her heat cycle to begin again.
Another event in the coitus of two dogs that is commonly misunderstood. Professional breeders should know this. If you are looking to breed your female dog, find a stud’s owner who has done this before and knows how the breeding process is done. Two dogs do not have to tie in order for the female to become pregnant. Tying is when the dogs are having intercourse in the mounting position, the bulbus glandis of the male’s penis swells up inside of the female’s vagina. In the beginning of the tie, the male does a happy dance and ejaculates, during the course of the tie he releases his prostatic fluid.
When the dogs tie together, the male will move his hind legs and the dogs will be butt to butt, locked together for approximately 2 to 30 minutes. Do not attempt to separate dogs during a tie, it can hurt the dogs especially the male. He is locked inside of the female at this point, if she starts thrashing around, she could hurt him badly. Especially if the female is larger, you want her calm, not to throw the male around by swing him by his penis. Always do a supervised breeding to make sure both dogs are safe, healthy, and calm. If you are inexperienced with breeding, it is best to breed with a dog’s owner who has done this before.
The Overall Conclusion
When you want to know how long does a dog stay in heat for, learn about the dog’s complete cycle of being in heat. While the estrus cycle is different for every dog depending on the dog’s size and breed. You now have a general idea of how long the heat cycle will occur and why dogs go into heat. Also, the important decision of whether or not you want your dog to go into heat. A canine’s estrus or heat cycle is one of the most important factors of your dog’s life. As an owner, you need to be properly informed and ready to handle the situation. If not spayed, your dog will go into heat until her day’s end.