When a female dog is about six months old, she becomes sexually mature. Estrus, also known as heat, refers to the part of the cycle when she is open to mating. Her ovaries produce eggs after a significant drop in estrogen levels followed by a surge throughout this stage. Although a dog's first heat usually occurs when it is six months old, this can vary greatly. While larger breed dogs may be as old as two years before their first heat, other canines can go into heat as early as four months. Breeders who are doing their jobs never breed a dog during her first or even second heat. It is recommended to hold off until her third heat, which occurs at around 18 to 24 months. Your veterinarian will carry out the required genetic testing and be able to let you know when your dog is prepared.
How can you know if your dog is having a litter?
Estrus manifests itself in both physical and behavioral ways. She might go more often than normal. Moreover, the vulva will swell and the discharge will have a bloody tint. She can appear anxious or preoccupied. She will be open to having sex with male dogs and may even start things off by "flagging," which is when a female dog lifts her rear in their direction. A female dog will actively court males in the middle of the cycle and may do so until the cycle is over.
How frequently will my dog become pregnant?
Every six months on average, female dogs go into heat. But, this can change, particularly at first, so it's a good idea to keep track. Some canines may need 18 to 24 months to establish regular cycles. Tiny dogs may go into heat three or four times a year or more frequently. Great Danes and St. Bernards, among other very large breeds, may only go into heat once every twelve months.
The estrus cycle typically lasts three weeks on average, however this can change by two to four weeks. It starts with vaginal discharge and vulvar puffiness and concludes when all bleeding has stopped. A female may consent to being mounted at any time during the menstrual cycle, while the majority actively seek out mounting later in the cycle.
Although the intervals between estrus will lengthen as your dog ages, she will continue to go into heat throughout her life. With practice, dog owners improve their ability to spot the beginning of and properly care for their pets during this normal life cycle.