What Age Do Female Dogs Start Their Period – When is the best time to breed a dog in heat? It may seem like you can get pregnant in the blink of an eye, but it’s actually quite a complicated process. Just ask any breeder who has repeatedly tried and failed to produce a litter from their champion female dog — sometimes, things just don’t go according to plan. Successful dog breeding is all about timing, so take a closer look at the biological issues behind the process.
Simply put, estrus is a female dog’s fertile period, generally referred to as a heat cycle or “season.” The first heat cycle usually occurs between 6 and 9 months of age, but slower maturing breeds may not experience a first heat until 12 to 18 months of age.
What Age Do Female Dogs Start Their Period
A normal dog heat cycle lasts about three weeks, during which the dog will release a discharge that contains blood. There are many signs and symptoms that indicate when a dog is in heat. In the initial stage, known as preestrus, a female dog’s vulva begins to swell and you may notice that they lick more than usual. The male will also start smelling them more when their hormones produce a scent that signals they are ready to breed.
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Once the vulva begins to swell, the female dog will begin to produce a bloody discharge. The amount will vary from dog to dog, so it may or may not be noticeable.
Sometime around nine to 12 days, the color of the discharge turns a pinkish-black color. Usually at this time, referred to as estrus, the vulva softens and eggs are released from the ovaries. At this point, you may notice your female dog flirting with others. This is a sign that they are ready to accept a dog’s advances.
If the female’s heat cycle is allowed to continue uninterrupted, the discharge begins to appear bloody again by the third week. The amount will decrease until the cycle is completed with the reverse.
On average, a healthy intact female dog comes into her period every six months. However, this can vary — some only cycle once a year, while others come into season on a quarterly basis. Very often, females that are in heat per trimester are not fertile every season.
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So when is the best time to breed a dog in heat cycle? Look for these signs that your dog is ready to breed:
While you can’t predict the exact day or even week when a dog will go into heat, there are ways to track it and get a general idea of when it might happen. On the first day your dog goes into heat, use a calendar to count the next eight to 10 days — this will include his full cycle. From there, use the calendar to track the next five to eight months. Months five, six and seven are times when your dog can go into heat.
Unfortunately, you will need to monitor your dog’s heat cycles for some time before you can understand his normal pattern. It is also possible to determine how close a dog is to the heat cycle using hormone testing, but this can be cost prohibitive as you would need to do this regularly to establish a pattern. Another option is to use a dog heat cycle calculator app like The Puppy Planner, which is available for iOS and Android devices.
Breeding usually takes place naturally, without human intervention, beyond the introduction of the potential dam into the stud. However, a little direction may be required if one or both involved have never farmed before.
Female Dogs In Heat
If the mating is successful and the female dog conceives, they will give birth to puppies between 58 and 63 days later. You can easily find your dog’s due date by consulting a dog pregnancy calendar.
There is no specific way to determine when ovulation will occur in a home environment. Typically, your dog will be most fertile between nine and 10 days after coming into heat and can remain fertile for up to five days. According to VCA Hospitals, the most common sign is the color of the discharge, which becomes more pink, ‘salmon’ than blood red. You can also take your dog to the vet for serum progesterone tests, which can give you information on when the best time to mate is, but requires you to take your dog in for a series of tests every day or every other day during their cycle. DIY test kits are also available for purchase, although they may not be as reliable as tests performed by your veterinarian.
A dog can breed the first time it comes into heat. However, a responsible breeder will have important criteria in mind before allowing a dog to be bred. According to the American Kennel Club, you cannot register litters from a dam less than 8 months old or more than 12 years old. In addition, they strongly recommend that breeders consider many factors unrelated to age prior to breeding. Prospective breeders should ask themselves the following questions.
Once the replication is complete, it will take some time to find out if it was successful. You will be able to tell if a birth is on the way much earlier if you learn to spot the signs of pregnancy. Do you have a male or female dog that has not yet been spayed or neutered? In this case, knowing the signs of a dog in heat is very important for both male and female dog parents. This can help you do the following:
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So what are the most common symptoms of a dog in heat? What can you expect when your dog is in heat? Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about dogs in heat.
A dog in heat refers to the time in a female dog’s life when she is fertile and ready to breed. It is the stage in a dog’s reproductive cycle when she is ovulating and therefore open to potential mates.
Be careful – during this time your dog may act funny, exhibiting the classic symptoms of a dog in heat. And since she’s open to mating, there’s a real chance your dog could get pregnant during this time. Therefore, you may need to take steps to prevent an unwanted dog pregnancy.
Dogs have their first heat cycle when they reach puberty: the moment they become sexually mature and capable of breeding. This usually happens around six months of age, but the exact age can vary by breed.
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Small dogs are known to start their heat cycle earlier, while large or giant breeds may not have their first heat until 18 – 24 months1.
Heat and breeding in domesticated dogs can occur at any time of the year – it is not associated with any particular season. The only exception are Basenjis and Tibetan Mastiffs, who tend to go into heat in the spring.
On average, female dogs come into heat twice a year or about every six months. But the frequency and interval can vary between dogs and between different dog breeds. For example, very large breeds may only go into heat once a year, while small dog breeds may cycle three times a year.
Dogs usually have two heats a year, but each dog differs in the duration of the heat, the amount of discharge, and hormonal changes.
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While a dog is still young, its heat cycle can be irregular. It can take up to two years for a dog’s heat cycle to become regular.
No, male dogs do not go into heat – only a female can be in heat. Being “in heat” specifically refers to the estrus stage of a female dog’s reproductive cycle, during which she is receptive to mating and therefore could become pregnant.
Although they do not have a heat cycle, male dogs can mate year-round after reaching puberty at around 6 months of age. If you have an unneutered dog over 6 months of age, you probably know the challenges that come with his sexual maturity. Constantly ready to mate, a messy male dog will pack things up and run away at every opportunity – eager to meet and “greet” the neighborhood dogs.
Although male dogs do not go into heat, keep in mind that a female dog in heat cycle can have a significant impact on your male dog.
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Male dogs will pick up the scent of female dogs in heat thanks to a special pheromone known as methyl p-hydroxybenzoate. This smell can drive your male dog crazy – especially if he is intact, he will be sexually aroused and can fully focus on chasing the female. Mating is the ultimate goal of this natural, powerful instinct in unneutered dogs. During this time, it can be helpful to track your dog with a GPS dog tracker to make sure he stays out of trouble.
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