Dogs typically go into heat for the first time when they are between 6 and 18 months old. The timing depends on the breed, with smaller breeds typically going into heat earlier than larger breeds. Some dogs may experience their first heat as early as 4 months old, while others may not go into heat until they are 2 years old.
Bitches (female dogs) will usually have their first season twice a year, although this can vary depending on the individual. It is important to note that going into heat is not the same as becoming sexually mature – male dogs can become sexually mature as early as 6 months old, but females generally take a little longer to reach sexual maturity.
Heat cycles last for around 3 weeks, during which time the bitch will be receptive to mating. After the first heat cycle, most bitches will go into heat every 6 to 8 months. However, this can vary depending on the individual dog and her environment – for example, bitches that are kept indoors may have less regular heat cycles than those that are allowed to roam free.
During the first few days of her cycle, the bitch’s vulva will swell, and she may have a bloody discharge. She will also be more interested in smelling other dogs and may start urinating more frequently. These are all signs that she is in heat and is ready to mate. If you do not want your dog to become pregnant, it is important to keep her away from male dogs during this time.
If she does come into contact with a male dog, she may be able to mate before you have a chance to separate them. If you are not planning on breeding your dog, the best way to prevent her from getting pregnant is to have her spayed. This simple operation involves removing the ovaries and uterus and is usually carried out when the bitch is between 6 and 9 months old.
Once she has been spayed, she will no longer come into heat and will not be able to get pregnant. If you have any concerns about your dog’s heat cycle, or if you would like more information on spaying, please contact your veterinarian. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your individual dog.
How to Care for a Dog in Heat?
Assuming you want tips on how to take care of a dog in heat:
The first thing you need to do is get your dog used to being handled. This means gently touching and handling their body, including their genitals. You should also have a plan for dealing with any bleeding that may occur during their heat cycle.
Next, you need to make sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh water. They will be drinking more than usual during this time, so it’s important to keep them hydrated. You should also provide them with a safe, comfortable place to rest and relax.
Finally, you’ll need to be extra diligent about keeping your dog clean during their heat cycle. This means bathing them more often and using a mild shampoo. You should also avoid using any perfumes or scented products on them, as this can irritate their skin.
When Do Dogs Go in Heat?
Dogs go into heat, or estrus, every six to eight months. The average length of estrus is two to four weeks, although it can be as short as one week or as long as eight weeks. Female dogs in their first estrus cycle may have a longer or shorter cycle than average. Seasonality does not seem to affect the cycle length.
During estrus, your dog’s behavior will change. She will be more affectionate and playful and may even hump her toys or other dogs more than usual. She may also urinate more frequently (marking), and her vulva will swell and emit a bloody discharge. These changes are all normal and are caused by an increase in hormones during estrus.
If you want your dog to breed, she will need to be mated with a male dog during her estrus cycle. The best time to do this is when she is two to four weeks into her cycle. Mating too early or too late in the cycle may result in a false pregnancy or no pregnancy at all. If your dog has not been spayed, it is important to keep her away from unneutered male dogs during her heat cycle, as she can become pregnant very easily.
If you do not want your dog to breed, she will need to be spayed (have her ovaries and uterus removed). This procedure should be done by a veterinarian, and it is important to do it before your dog goes into heat for the first time. Once a dog has been spayed, she cannot have puppies.
Spaying your dog has many benefits, including reducing the risk of mammary cancer and pyometra (infection of the uterus). It also eliminates the risk of your dog getting pregnant accidentally. If you have any questions about spaying or breeding, please speak to your veterinarian.
Our Final Thoughts
Now we know how dogs go into heat and how old are dogs when they first go into heat, you can be better prepared to take care of your dog. It is appropriate that you ensure you know when your dog goes into heat so that you can take care of your dog and ensure that the entire process is as comfortable for them as possible. As always, speak with your veterinarian to ensure that you are best prepared to handle the needs of your dog when they are in heat.