Are you a female puppy owner? Well, female puppy owners should be prepared for their estrus cycle which is similar to women’s menstrual cycle. However, it happens to female dogs only 2 times in a year. Female dogs can go in heat for 6 months, so you are advised to watch out for their signs.
Female dogs can come into their 1st heat between “six” and “twenty four” months. As per the sayings of Webvet.com, small dogs come into heat earlier as compared to larger breeds. Usually they will have 2 heats, or estrus cycles, in a year, and lasts for 18 to 24 days. Through changes in their behavior, female dogs show that their heat is about to start.
This situation could be compared with the emotional ups and downs that women go through before menstruation. An increased clinging to their owners, licking vulva frequently, sudden signs of irritation with other pets or restlessness, are some of the most common signs of their heat beginning. Moreover, seasonal timing of 2 estrus cycles is normally between August to October and January and March.
A female dog’s estrus cycle has the following 4 different stages:
Proestrus is the first stage
The first stage lasts between 7 to 10 days and during this stage female dogs will bleed from their vaginal area. You might notice that your dog’s vulva is swollen and urinates more. It is a female dog’s preparation for pregnancy phase and during this time, they will not want to mate with any male dog. Pet owners can cope with this bleeding and keep their home clean by following few simple ways.
- Although the dog will clean herself, but still you will find a trail of blood spots whenever she shakes her body. If your home has marble or wood flooring, it will be much easier to keep a mop on hand to clean it up.
- If she is allowed to sit on your furniture, you are advised to put towels down for her.
- Buying dog diapers is one of the best available options. You can also make your own with disposable baby training pants and simply cut a hole for the tail.
- You are highly advised to visit a local pet store and purchase dog panties with special sanitary napkins, in case your dog has a heavy bleeding flow.
Estrus is the second stage
This stage is also known as “mating”, and lasts between 5 to 9 days. At this stage, female dogs are willing to breed. It is a tricky time because the dog is prepared to mate with a male. Almost every male around your neighborhood tries to get to her. You must keep her securely inside the home in case you do not want her to mate. Avoid leaving her on her own in the yard, otherwise she will find an escape route over or under the fence.
During this stage, while touching the dog’s back, she will stand still and move her tail to the side. Dog owners that don not want their dog to breed, need to keep close tabs on them during this phase in order to ensure the dog does not attract or seek out any mate.
Diestrus is the third phase
It lasts between 6 to 10 weeks and this phase follows whether your dog gets pregnant or not. During this phase the uterus walls thicken and some female dogs may have a false pregnancy. Enlarged mammary glands is a sign of it and she may even produce milk.
Female dogs show few outward signs of the cycle. All things that happen throughout this stage are internal; because a lot of ovarian activities occur. One outward sign as mentioned above is that the dog can show a false pregnancy.
Anestrus phase is the fourth phase
This is the period between a female dog’s heat cycle. This phase lasts around 15 weeks and female dogs do not have any interest in mating. They do not even show any signs of hormonal changes, unless they reach their next proestrus. During this phase, there is no hormonal activity.
A Lifetime Of Heat
After the first estrus cycle, female dogs go through estrus cycles for the rest of their lives. Although as they get older, estrus or bleeding phase lengthens, but as a dog menopause there is no such thing. Spaying a female puppy can prevent her from going through the estrus cycle.
Webvet recommends not to allow a female to go through heat or have one litter of puppies. It further says that there are various health benefits to spay your dog before her first heat, such as uterine infections and preventing mammary cancer. Also, reducing her desire to mate stops her from running off as well as risking injury through any road accident.
How Long Does A Dog Bleed When In Heat?
The very first thing that you need to know is, it is biologically opposite to human menstruation or period. The entire reproductive cycle takes six months. A period called “heat” and is 3 weeks of that time during which a female dog is more fertile (rather than infertile as women). Bleeding is most noticeable during the 1st week, she will be more receptive/fertile to mating during the 2nd week, and finally during the 3rd week, bloody discharge tapers off as well as becomes progressively lighter in color.
This is the most typical, and can vary from dog to dog, also for a same dog over time. To prevent pregnancy, you need to watch your dog carefully from 5 months after she last went into heat. You must keep her away from all other dogs for at least 21 to 30 days after the first sign of discharge or swollen vulva.
The following 2 mistakes are most common for novice dog owners with their first intact dog:
- Assuming the dog is not pregnant, but only on her period
- Assuming your dog is no longer in heat when discharge decreases or vanishes, during the 2nd week, but in-fact that is when she is most likely to be breed!