A female dog in heat usually signifies that she is ready for mating. This is often referred to as the estrus cycle. Most dogs have their first estrus cycle at 6 to 12 months while larger breeds tend to start at a later time-12 to 24 months. A female dog can get pregnant anytime between the estrus cycles.
Female Dogs in Heat Problems
Most dog owners often report a sudden change in the dog’s behavior. Erratic changes include stains on the furniture, changes in sleeping pattern and the female dog’s tendency to go outside in the middle of the night.
The average heat cycle usually lasts for 3 weeks or 21 to 25 days. It could be quite short for some dogs with the entire cycle lasting for 2 weeks and for a few, it could go on until 4 weeks.
Female Dogs in Heat Symptoms
- Just like menstruation in humans, a female dog in heat experiences vaginal bleeding. However, the vaginal bleeding is not as heavy as that of humans.
- Swelling of the vulva, sometimes, is present.
- Increased urination or changes in bladder habits.
- Male dogs in the neighborhood hanging around the house are perhaps one of the most noticeable symptoms.
Female Dogs in Heat Behavior
- It is quite normal for female dogs to be in heat twice a year as the cycle happens every 6 to 8 months.
- A female dog in heat can get pregnant on her first cycle but it is recommended not to get her pregnant around this time. Serious conditions like hip problems usually appear at 2 years of age. It is also best to do genetic testing on the dog’s first and second cycles.
- It is okay to take female dogs in heat to walks but it is already a given that the dog will be walking magnet for male dogs.
- Even the most disciplined and well trained female dogs will succumb to the “heat”. A dog owner should not trust the dog all by herself outside even in a well-fenced yard but with the possibility of male canines nearby.
- When taking walks, it is best to drive to a remote area and do the same thing on the way home. Male dogs usually have a strong sense of smell and can follow the scent of vaginal discharge and urine down to the female dog’s home.