When Will My Dog Go Into Heat?
A female dog reaches sexual maturity when she reaches six months old. She is receptive to mating when there is an increase in estrogen levels, and then a sharp decrease, and then her ovaries release eggs. This stage is called estrus – more commonly known as “heat”. Although six months is the average age of a dog’s first heat, this can vary. Some dogs can go into heat at the age of 4 months- and others as old as 2 years. As with most domestic species, many breeders recommend not breeding a female early in life, and most canine breeders recommend the third heat cycle to help eliminate any problems the female might otherwise have at a younger age.
How to tell when a dog is in heat.
There are physical and behavioral changes in a female dog when she is in heat. Here are some signs to watch for:
- Urinating more than usual
- Blood tinged discharge
- Swollen vulva
- Very receptive to male dogs
How often will my dog go into heat?
Female dogs cycle into heat on average every six months. However, this can vary, especially in the beginning, so it’s a good idea to keep track of her cycle. It can take some dogs up to 2 years to develop a regular cycle. Small dogs tend to go into heat more frequently. Whereas a bigger breed such as a Great Dane may only go into heat once a year. The length of time between cycles will increase as they age.
The heat cycle typically lasts 3 weeks- sometimes 4 weeks. It starts with the swollen vulva and ends when the discharge has stopped.
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