How often do dogs go into heat? You might need to know because this is your first foray into breeding your dog. Perhaps you have a new puppy who is growing older and you’re wondering when you should have your dog fixed. If you’ve waited a bit, you’ll need to know how often do dogs go into heat just so you are sure to handle this necessary task on time.
I have 7 facts about female dogs in heat so you’ll know the warning signs.
1. How Often Do Dogs Go Into Heat
Let me answer the real question first. Female dogs go into heat twice a year. This is also called their estrus cycle. Female dogs are ready for breeding two times a year and can safely have a litter each time.
That being said, I want to be very clear that this article is not about breeding your dog. That is a specialized subject that has its own pros and cons to consider. Some of the information I give you here will help you understand how the fundamentals of breeding
What I want you to understand is that your dog will cycle two times every year until or unless you have her fixed. This, of course, is also known as spaying your dog.
2. Female Dogs Go Into Heat For The First Time At 6 Months Old
When your dog is 6 months old, she is old enough to go into heat. Just because nature says it is time doesn’t mean you should breed your dog so young. She is still a puppy at 6 months old and should be able to grow up more before you breed her the first time.
Some breeds go into heat more often. For example, small breed dogs can have three cycles a year. Conversely, large breed dogs may only have one cycle every 12 to 18 months. So, your Great Dane may only have one litter of puppies a year.
Additionally, young dogs may have irregular cycles. Your dog’s cycles will regulate by the time they are around two years old. Because domesticated dogs live in climate controlled situations inside our homes, there is no specific season that triggers your dog’s estrus cycle.
3. How Long Will My Dog Stay In Heat?
Your dog will be in heat for 2-4 weeks. When the heat cycle begins, your dog may not be interested in male dogs. Conversely, however, some female dogs are receptive to breeding right away as they enter their heat.
Watch for the signs I explain below to identify when your dog is in heat and when the heat is over. This is the only way to identify your dog’s individual cycle.
Just like human women, female dogs may be fertile through the entire heat or they may only have a 10 day window that they can get pregnant in. Without some advice and examination from your vet, it is difficult to pinpoint this exactly.
4. Signs That Your Dog Is In Heat
Watch for the following signs to identify if your dog is in heat. Some of these descriptions are a bit graphic, but it is important to discuss this with maturity so you understand what to look for to tell how often dogs go into heat.
Your dog’s vulva swells during heat. You may be able to see this by examining your dog. On the other hand, some dogs don’t show visible signs that are easy to notice.
Discharge emerges from your dog when she is in heat. It will appear bloody, much like a woman’s period. At the start of the fertile period, this discharge will be darker red. As the fertile period continues, the discharge will turn more clear.
Your dog will urinate frequently during walks when she is in heat. It is a little like male dogs marking their territory. This happens because your dog is driven by nature to deposit urine rich in pheromones near her location.
Male dogs are very sensitive to the smell of a female dog who is fertile. The urine will draw them to her for breeding. Depending on how often dogs go into heat in your dog’s breed, you may be putting up with this two to three times a year.
Finally, you may see your dog ‘flirting’ with male dogs. Flirting for dogs involves the female dog presenting her rear end to the male. It’s like bedroom eyes but a little less sophisticated.
5. Do Female Dogs Go Into Menopause?
I learned something new about dogs researching this article for you! Female dogs will go into heat their entire lives. The cycle slows down, however. Therefore, dogs in their later years will have longer periods between their periods.
Pun intended. I couldn’t resist- we need a little humor in this anatomy and biology discussion!
So, that means no doggie menopause for your four legged female friend.
6. Why You Should Have Your Dog Spayed Or Fixed
As you already know, most dogs owners choose to take their dogs to the vet for a simple surgery that prevents them from getting pregnant. The spay surgery is like a hysterectomy in humans. The vet removes the dog’s ovaries and uterus to prevent heat and pregnancy.
Some people believe this surgery prevents cancer. It certainly alleviates some behavioral problems such as frequent urination. It will also protect your dog from unwanted advances from male dogs in the neighborhood.
First, intact female dogs can develop a condition called pyometra. This is an infection of the uterus that requires an emergency spay. It is serious and life threatening.
Secondly, spaying your dog will make life easier for you. You won’t have to worry about the mess a dog’s period can create in your house. Additionally, it will prevent her humping things and licking herself which can be embarrassing when company is over.
On the upside, if your dog isn’t spayed, your family will have lots of stories to tell after Thanksgiving at your house this year. I’m kidding. Schedule a spay for your dog unless you are a breeder!
7. When Should I Spay My Dog
Most vets and research available recommends you spay your dog around 6 months old. You can delay this up to 9 months, however, and some people believe it is better to wait. Consult your vet for the best opinion on this important decision.
Personally, I recommend that you do have your dog fixed. If you are going to breed your dog, please talk with your vet about this and consult an experienced breeder who is willing to help you. They can answer questions with authority and help you breed your dog safely.
If you choose to keep your dog intact, be sure to keep up on regular vet visits. Isolate your dog when she is in heat and care for her during this time. You must be understanding of her change in behavior because this is what nature intended.
It is not ok to become frustrated with your dog for being a dog.
How Often Do Goes Go Into Heat And What You Should Do
Let’s review what we’ve learned here, since it was quite a lot!
- 1. Dogs go into heat around 6 months old.
- 2. Most dogs have two cycles per year, and the season is irrelevant.
- 3. Your dog will show signs of heat that include displaying for male dogs, frequent urination, and bloody discharge. Her vulva may also swell. You may or may not be able to see this, however.
- 4. Male dogs will know your dog is in heat because there are scent signals called pheromones in her urine. This is why she is peeing so much!
- 5. Some dogs who remain intact contract infections and diseases such as uterine infections. This can be dangerous and requires emergency surgery.
- 6. Your vet has the best advice about this subject! If you don’t feel that your vet is knowledgeable about how often dogs go into heat or when to spay dogs, interview other vets and choose a new one right away.
Sharing Is Caring and Commenting Is Even Better!
I want to hear from you about how often dogs go into heat in your house if you live with intact female dogs! Do you have any tips and tricks of your own to share with our readers? Leave me a comment about this or anything else related to dogs.
Read More Articles About Dogs
If you’ve enjoyed this article, check out some of the other recent posts on the website. Try 15 Dogs That Don’t Shed or Can Dogs Get Pink Eye- How To Get The Red Out for more information and even more cute photos of dogs, too.
Thanks for reading!