Puberty in female dogs starts at different times, depending on the size of the breed. Larger dogs can be 24 months old before they come into heat. Smaller breeds, on the other hand, tend to go into heat when they are four to six months old.

Whether your dog is presently on heat or not, it is essential that you learn as much as you can about puberty and sexual maturity in dogs. Doing this will help you take better care of your dog when she eventually comes into heat.

This article is loaded with everything you need to know about dogs that are on heat. So, if you have a feeling that your dog is on heat and you don’t know what to do or aren’t sure how long it will last, you are going to find this article useful.


Signs of heat in dogs

Unless you are a vet or have been raising dogs for years, it is likely going to be difficult for you to determine if your dog is on heat or not accurately. Below are some physical signs of a female dog on heat.

  • She may attempt to mount other dogs regularly.
  • The vulva of the dog will become red and swollen (you may notice her licking the area often)
  • She may start giving more and more attention to male dogs
  • She will become more affectionate and seek more of your attention.


How long will it last?

Typically, dogs stay on heat for 14 to 30 days. While some female dogs will be receptive to male dogs throughout the entire circle, others may be unreceptive especially during the early stage of the circle. Like humans, the heat period of dogs vary. This means that the heat cycle can exceed thirty days or may not reach 30 days.

When a female dog is no longer on heat, her vulva will return to its normal size, and there will be no more discharge or bleeding. It has been observed that female dogs are very fertile nine on ten days after they go into heat.


Is this is a continuous thing?

When estrus begins, it is likely going to take some time for the cycle to become regular. In some breeds, it can take up 18 months for the circle to become regular. It is wise to keep a record of this, especially during the early years of a dog’s life.

Once the circle becomes regular, a female dog will go into heat every six months. Smaller breeds tend to go into heat more frequently, as often as 4 times a year. Larger dogs, like Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, and Bernards may only go every 12 to 18 months. Unlike humans, female dog experience estrus all through their lives. The time between cycles will get longer and longer as they grow older.


How to keep a dog on heat healthy and comfortable

During heat, it is wise that you give your dog extra attention and care. Below are some ways you can do this.


Keep her groomed

Keeping your dog perfectly groomed should be at the top of your priorities when she is on the heat. While grooming, give your focus to the fur surrounding her vulva, so that bloody discharge doesn’t stain and dry in her fur.


Keep male dogs away

If you don’t want your female dog that is on heat to become pregnant, then you should keep her away from male dogs. See, males can smell a female on heat from miles away and, if allowed to roam, they will do everything they can get to her and mate. Some males can scale fences to get to female dogs on heat at the backyard. To be on the safe side, it is wise that you don’t allow your dog into your backyard or other secluded areas when she is on the heat. When walking her, make sure she is in front of you at all times.


Her energy levels

Female dogs on heat are not as vibrant or active as usual. You don’t need to be worried because of this, it is normal. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take your dog for a walk or engage in any physical activity during the period she is on the heat. Continue to walk with your dog and play with her. While doing this, it is vital that you pay attention to her energy levels. If you usually walk for 30 mins in the mornings or evenings but notice she is dragging after 8 to 10 minutes, then reduce the time to 15mins or less.


Dog diapers

When your dog is on heat, she is going to bleed everywhere. This means that blood is likely going to get on your furniture and carpet. To prevent this, buy quality doggie diapers. They come in different colors and sizes. In fact, some of them are machine washable.


Spay your dog

Unless you are a dog breeder, you should consider spraying your dog, as this will prevent her from getting pregnant. Spraying is also an effective way to prevent various forms of cancers and tumors from developing. Research has shown that spayed females are less likely to develop cervical, breast, and ovarian cancers.


The right time to spay your dog

It is best to spray your female dog before her first heat circle. If your dog goes into heat before you got a chance to spray her, then you should wait until she is no longer on the heat before spraying her. It is best you wait for 25 to 30 days before spraying your dog after her heat circle.


Final note

Irrespective of the size and breed of your dog, it is essential that you take good care of her during her heat circle. Take her out for short walks, but pay attention to her energy level. Don’t forget to buy doggie diapers to prevent her bloody discharge from staining your rug or furniture. If you don’t want your dog to become pregnant, then you should consider spraying her weeks before she goes into heat. If she is already on heat, it would be wise you wait until her heat circle is over before spraying her.


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