Having a dog in heat can generate many doubts for tutors. Whether due to the change in the pet’s behavior during the period, the bleeding that occurs at this stage, the risk of an unwanted puppy pregnancy or even knowing when is the best time to perform neutering.
That’s why we made a guide so you know how to identify the period and what to do when you have a dog in heat at home.
At how many months does a dog go into heat?
The age for the bitch to reach sexual maturity and come into heat is not exact. In general, the first time happens between 6 and 12 months .
Afterwards, the estrus period occurs twice a year , every six months, and can vary to once a year in some cases.
A fact to observe is that the small dog breeds enter earlier than the large ones . In some large females, the heat may only reach two years of age, approximately.
How long does a dog’s heat last?
As cycles vary, it is not possible to specify the time your pet will be in heat . But we can give you an average, as you’ll see below.
An important issue is to understand that estrus, also called the estrous cycle , is the female’s reproductive phase, when she presents sexual receptivity, followed by ovulation, and is divided into four stages:
In this first phase, the bitch is not yet fertile or ready to mate, but her body is already starting to stimulate the release of pheromones, that is, hormones capable of attracting males.
Proestrus can last between 3 to 17 days and you may notice that the vulva will be a little swollen, with a secretion with traces of blood (slightly reddish).
In the second phase, which lasts from 3 to 10 days , the bitch will already be in the fertile period and ready to receive copulation. If you want to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, this is the time to be more attentive.
The enlargement of the vulva will be stable and, usually, the reddish discharge will reduce. It is common for your dog to be more agitated , want to walk for a longer time or leave the house and pee more than usual. It is at this time that she will release pheromones to attract dogs.
If mating and fertilization have taken place, it is at this stage that pregnancy and lactation take place . However, even if she is not pregnant, diestrus occurs and can last between 60 and 100 days .
At this stage, it is common for the bitch to refuse the male , be calmer and want to eat a lot.
It is also at this stage that some bitches develop psychological pregnancy , since there was no real fertilization, but there is a large production of hormones.
In the last phase of the cycle, if pregnancy has occurred, delivery takes place and the bitch remains in sexual inactivity .
Anestrus takes about 130 days and is a longer phase precisely to help the animal’s body recover, with less hormonal activity.
If the bitch has not been fertilized, however, you may not even notice the new phase. When the anoestrus is finished, your pet will start bleeding again and a new cycle will begin.
How do I know if the dog is out of the heat?
Typically, the end of heat occurs about three to four weeks after the start of bleeding.
The most important thing here is to pay attention to the end of the estrus, when the dog’s behavior will stop being more agitated, the vulva will return to its natural size and there will be no more bleeding.
Symptoms of a bitch in heat: how to identify the signs? Dog in heat has colic?
In addition to the increase in volume and darkening of the vulva and light bleeding, the female dog in heat may have other symptoms and signs :
- Aggression and restlessness
- Apathy, sadness or neediness
- Greater male attraction
- change in appetite
- Pain or tenderness in the abdominal region. Dogs can, yes, have colic, but to a lesser extent than women.
When is the best time for castration?
The castration of pets plays an important role in their health , as it helps to prevent diseases. Studies indicate that neutering females before their first heat, for example, reduces the risk of developing breast cancer by 99%.
In this way, veterinary medicine recommends that neutering be done right after the end of the vaccine cycle, when the bitch is about six months old , since it is at this stage that the estrus occurs.
Why can’t you neuter in heat?
As we have seen, during estrus the bitch has genital swelling and inflammation in the uterus . Castration is not indicated, therefore, not to cause injuries and pain in the region.
How many days after heat can a bitch be spayed?
If your dog has not been spayed within the indicated period and has already come into heat for the first time, the vet will recommend that you wait for the end of heat (about a month after the start of bleeding) to perform the neutering.
What to do when the dog goes into heat?
When the dog is in heat , the important thing is that you pay attention to the phases and give her the support she needs right now.
- To maintain hygiene , use soaps suitable for the region. Also try to use her own diapers or panties, which should be changed at least twice a day, with an interval for her to relieve herself.
- Take care of food: give a ration with high quality of nutrients.
- Be patient and try not to fight with her. It is a period that can be stressful for the dog.
- It is important that you keep your dog indoors more, as the release of hormones will attract other dogs, which can result in both mating and fighting.
What to do to scare away a dog when the dog is in heat?
During the cycle, neighborhood dogs will be able to do everything they can to get close to your bitch and breed, which can be a challenge. So here are some tips to protect it :
- Keep your pet at home and don’t let her go out alone.
- Alternate walk times so that dogs don’t notice the routine and follow behind and try to walk at less busy times
- Consult your veterinarian about using anti-smell sprays to ward off the pheromone odor.
- Change diapers regularly.