Dog Breeding – What You Need to Know About Dogs in Heat

August 10, 2010 8:39 am - Posted by Susan in Dog Breeders

For people who want to know the facts about dogs in heat, there are certain questions that they need practical answers to. The heat period in canines is known as the estrous cycle. This is the period when the dog has a big chance to become pregnant when mated with a stud. The obvious sign is vaginal bleeding and swollen vulva. Particularly in small breeds, the bleeding is not profuse. You will also notice that the female dog will urinate more frequently. And when there are male dogs that suddenly hang around your yard, it is a sure sign that your pet is in heat.

On the average, the heat cycle in female dogs occurs when they are between six and twelve months old. However, it can happen sooner or later in some dogs. The smaller dog breeds usually experience their first cycle earlier while the larger dog breeds might come into heat later than the average. Normally, a female dog comes into heat two times in a year.

There are four parts in the estrous cycle of female canines:

  • The first stage is called proestrous which could last for as short as 4 days or as long as twenty days. The female dog is not open to male dogs at this point. The dog is usually shy while she bleeds and has a swollen vulva.
  • The second stage of being in heat is the estrous part. It could last between 5 to 13 days long. At this stage, the color of the secreted blood is lighter and the female dog becomes more receptive to males.
  • The third stage is called diestrous in which there is lesser secretion and female dogs start to become disinterested in male dogs. If the dog is pregnant, the pregnancy will last between 60 and 64 days.
  • The final stage is called anestrus in which the heat cycle is over. The dog stays in this stage for about 5-11 months.

For most breeders, testing the levels of progesterone is the best way to determine the most fertile days in order to have higher chances of getting the dog pregnant. For pet owners who don’t want puppies, spaying is the best option. But as traditional practice, it is best to allow a female dog to undergo a cycle first or have puppies at least once. Nowadays, pets can be spayed earlier. You can get information from your vet as to the most appropriate time for spaying your dog.

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