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If you do not intend to breed your dog your should consider getting her spayed. Click here for more information.
The Heat Cycle Heat or more technically Estrus is the mating period of female animals. When heat occurs, animals are said to be “in heat” or “in season.” Dogs generally have their first heat cycle at 6-12 months of age. Some females of the large breeds, however, may not have their first estrus until they are 12-24 months of age. The entire heat cycle lasts an average of 21 days, but this may vary with some dogs. The actual “breeding time” is only a matter of 2 or 3 days in the 3 week period, but this time can be very difficult to determine. There are test which your vet can carry out to pin point this time.
Symptoms of Heat
- The beginning of the heat cycle usually starts with her paying a great deal of attention to and licking at her vulva frequently, and there is some hard swelling around the vaginal area.
- She will begin dark red bleeding from the vagina.
- The flow may be fairly heavy the first few days and usually decreases in amount over the next week.
- The colour also changes from dark red to salmon colour as the heat progresses.
- The vulva, or area around the vagina, swells considerably and then begins to soften, as her progesterone level rises and her body prepares to release the eggs from the ovaries.
- She will curve her tail over to the left or right side as she becomes closer to the actual mating time and will urinate frequently to spread her scent for the males.
Stages of the Heat Cycle Stage 1- Known as “Proestrus”
The first part of heat you will notice bleeding from the vulva, swelling of the vulva, possible increase in urination and the most noticeable, male dogs hanging around the house. During this period females will not allow the males to breed with them although the males will be very persistent.
Stage 2- Known as “Estrus”
The second part is the time in which the female will allow the male to breed her and this can last anywhere from 4-21 days. A female, most of the time, will allow most any male to breed during this time.
Stage 3- Known as “Diestrus”
As the female starts to go out of heat or enter diestrus, she will be less willing to breed. Again this stage can last 4-14 days but averages approximately 7 days. The next cycle usually begins about 7 months from the start of the last heat cycle, not the end of that cycle but again this varies from dog to dog. The interval stays the same even if she becomes pregnant.
If you are not breeding at a certain heat cycle you must take care over the 21 days. Do not take her for walks at all, but keep her confined to the fenced back yard for the whole time. The reason for this is that she will urinate frequently while on a walk, the males will pick up the scent and follow her trail to your home.
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