From about 6 months old to through the rest of her life, a female dog will experience estrus, or heat, approximately every six months. This is the time period when she’s receptive to breeding. Hormonal changes will cause pronounced differences in your dog that will indicate she’s in heat, consisting of a swollen vulva, bleeding, more regular urination and increased anxiousness or awareness. She’ll also provide herself to male dogs by raising her rump and holding her tail off to the side.
When Does Heat Start?
Dogs can go into heat as young as 4 months in smaller sized types, but averages about six months old. Some giant breeds might not go into their first heat till they’re 18-24 months old. It is highly recommended not to reproduce young female dogs during their first and 2nd cycle. Their eggs are not yet fully grown and the dog hasn’t reached full maturity. If you’re intending on breeding your dog, your vet will have the ability to inform you when the dog is mature enough to be bred.
How Long Is Each Cycle?
Heat typically lasts in between 2-4 weeks. Early in the cycle, a female dog might not be responsive to male dogs, although some are responsive through the entire cycle. It can be shorter or longer and you’ll understand the cycle is over when all her vulva go back to its normal size and there’s no more bleeding or discharge. There’s a reasonably little window when your dog is most fertile during the heat cycle; it may begin about nine or 10 days after she goes into heat and lasts about five days. However, she can conceive till completion of the cycle.
Is This a Lifetime Thing?
Once estrus starts, it might take some time for the cycle to become regular. Some dogs can use up to eighteen months till their cycle becomes regular. It’s a smart idea to keep a record during these early days. Once it does, the average is about every six months. Smaller sized breeds may enter into heat more often, as often as 3-4 times a year. Larger dogs, like Irish Wolfhounds, St. Bernards and Great Danes might only enter into heat every 12-18 months. Unlike humans, female dogs experience estrus throughout their lives, although the time between cycles will get longer.
With the exception of breeders of purebreds, most pet owners choose to spay their female dogs prior to the first heat. Some professionals believe this minimizes the risk of mammary cancer and other conditions. It also eliminates the possibility of unwanted litters.