Heat is a topic quite important for every dog owner. Because although heat is primarily manifested by bleeding from the genital tract, it is not the same as menstruation in women – it is the only time when a dog can get pregnant. Therefore, if you have or are just planning to have a dog at home, it is worth knowing when the first heat appears, how long the heat lasts and how to protect the dog during heat against unwanted courtship.
When does heat appear for the first time
This is a very individual matter. Only a certain time frame can be set. In general, heat occurs between 6 and 12 months of age dog. This is related to achieving adequate body weight – some specialists believe that it is 2/3 of the target weight. Therefore, small dogs mature the fastest, as early as 6-8 months, medium – 8-12 months, and large – 12-20 months. In some large breeds heat may appear only at the age of 24 months.
How often heat occurs
Many dog owners wonder how often heat occurs. The average distance between oestrus lasts about 6-7 months. However, it depends on the breed of dog, for example in the case of:
- German Shepherds – this interval is 4-5 months,
- dachshunds and miniature poodles – it is 7-8 months,
- African greyhounds and breeds – it’s about 12 months.
How long does dog heat last
In most cases, heat occurs in dogs once or twice a year and lasts about 21 days, although this is not the rule. Dog is prolific between 8 and 14 days of heat, but to be sure, take a walk with her on a leash for the entire duration of heat.
The time between successive heats is called interraceous period. It lasts from 5 to 11 months. Some breeds, such as basenji, sheltie and boston terriers, have longer interraceous periods of over 12 months. This is a normal and typical phenomenon for these breeds – they should not bother anyone.
What are the symptoms
This is primarily bleeding from the genital tract dog, but also swollen and congested vulva, more frequent urination, with a characteristic smell. Dog behavior also changes depending on the heat phase. If we do not want the dog to get dirty during the heat period, we can provide it with special panties. Inside them is placed an insert that needs to be replaced regularly. At the same time, the dog should not wear panties all the time, because it must also be able to take care of hygiene, i.e. licking around the perineum. Otherwise, bacterial infections and inflammation may occur.
How to prevent pregnancy
Because an unattended dog in the heat period very easily finds admirers and becomes pregnant, it must not be released loose even in a fenced area. Walks should be kept to a minimum and always bring a dog on a leash. If we do not want to breed females, sterilization is the easiest way to prevent unwanted pregnancy in females – as a result, the dog becomes sterile.
The term heat can also be moved, and the heat itself interrupted – for this purpose, hormonal injections are used, which are given by a dog veterinarian. However, this method is not recommended for permanent use, as dogs subjected to it are more susceptible to pyoderma, cysts and cancer.