Everything You Need to Know About Dogs in Heat
One of the most obvious physical signs that your dog is in heat is that his vulva becomes red and swollen. Dogs bleed for about seven to ten days. But, there can be other reasons too! Read on for everything you need to know about why your dog in heat.
Every intact female dog goes through a cycle that prepares her body to breed. If you have ever lived with a dog in heat, you are likely already familiar with the telltale physical and behavioral signs that indicate she is entering estrus, or season.
It’s best to read about dogs and arm yourself with all the information you need to take care of your dog through this vulnerable period. Read on for everything you need to know about dogs in heat.
The Canine Estrus Cycle
1. Proestrus – The first phase of a dog’s estrus cycle lasts around seven to ten days. Her vulva starts to swell and bleed. Male dogs will be more attracted to her scent.
2. Estrus – This mating period lasts five to ten days. Bleeding is significantly reduced, and your dog is ready to mate.
3. Diestrus – During this phase, your dog is either pregnant or in a period of rest.
4. Anestrus – This prolonged period of downtime lasts about six months, all the way up to the next proestrus.
Dog Heat: Signs and Symptoms
One of the most obvious physical signs that your dog is in heat is that her vulva becomes red and swollen. Dogs bleed for about seven to ten days, but you may only notice a few drops of blood if your dog is stringent about her self-grooming. The amount of blood depends on their size and breed.
Dogs in heat also urinate more often, and you may have to take her on more than one walk a day.
Behavioral changes include fidgeting, mounting, wanting to get close with other dogs, and seeking out male dogs. Being in heat isn’t painful for dogs, but they may feel slightly uncomfortable. If your dog seems to be in a lot of pain or you see large amounts of blood, take her to the vet just to make sure that she’s healthy.
Dog Heat: Beginning and Frequency
The start and frequency of a dog’s heat depend on her breed and size. Small dogs develop more quickly, and they may start going into heat at four months old. Bigger breeds may not go into heat until they are almost two years old.
On average, dogs go into heat every six months. Over time, you will find that estrus cycles are very consistent. If your dog goes into heat with odd frequency, your vet should rule out hormonal imbalances or other reproductive health issues.
Dogs who have not been spayed will go into heat all their lives. The heat seasons may slow down as they get older, but they can still get pregnant at any age.
Taking Care of a Dog in Heat
Dogs in heat generally feel anxious and uncomfortable. Try to keep her entertained more often with extra playtime and more walks.
If you don’t want her to get pregnant, keep her away from any other dogs. She will be very insistent on going out and interacting with male dogs, and it’s up to you to keep her safe. To avoid pregnancy, you can opt for surgical sterilization before she is six months old.
Dogs in heat exhibit obvious physical and behavioral symptoms, so you will know when you need to keep her away from male dogs sniffing around. As she goes through her cycle, you should try to keep her as comfortable as possible in your house. Extra attention and walks will help keep her anxiety at bay. You can choose to spay your dog early in life, so she doesn’t have to go through this cycle.
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