When Do Dogs Get Their ‘Period’ and How Often?
Female dogs typically reach sexual maturity around six months old and that’s when have their first “heat” or estrus cycle. During this stage, there’s an increase in estrogen levels, then a sharp decrease, and then her ovaries release eggs. Their estrus cycles typically last three weeks but can range between two and four.
While six months is the average age of a dog’s first heat, it can vary between dogs. Some dogs may go into heat at four months, but bigger dogs may be as old as two years before their first heat. It’s considered best practice to wait until your dog’s third heat to breed her. However, your vet can perform genetic testing and tell you when your dog is ready.
Dogs typically go into heat on average every six months, but this varies especially in the beginning. It can take some dogs around 18 to 24 months to develop a regular cycle. Small dogs usually go into heat more often — as much as three to four times a year. Large breeds such as Great Danes and St. Bernard might only go into heat once a year.
Dogs will continue to have cycles, but the length of time between estrus will increase as she gets older.
How Do Male Dogs Know a Female Dog Is in Heat?
When a female dog is in heat, her vaginal and urinary secretions will contain different pheromones than when she is not in heat. Male dogs’ keen sense of smell can detect these pheromones.
Common behaviors of a female dog in heat
Not sure if your dog is in heat? Vaginal bleeding may be the first indicator that your dog is coming into heat. Here are a few common behaviors of a female dog in heat to watch out for, along with some other dog in heat symptoms:
Ask The Vet, (Dogs getting their period.) Dr Yalda Motavali
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