If you have a female dog, you need to learn about their reproductive cycle. Once your female dog reaches maturity, she will come into heat twice a year, especially if she is six months or older. The first heat cycle is always the toughest, especially as the dog’s cycle gets established. It might also make you wonder: how long are dogs in heat for the first time?
Usually, a dog stays in heat for two to three weeks. However, each dog can stay in heat for a different time period. As a general rule, smaller dogs get their first heat earlier than larger breeds. The duration of the dog’s cycle hinges upon the following factors:
- The breed of the dog
- The size of the dog and
- The age in which they got their first cycle.
Apart from this, you have to pay attention to their heat cycle and the stage that they are experiencing.
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The Stages of the Heat Cycle
Understanding their heat cycle can help you to learn more about the duration of the heat period. The following are the four major stages that you will have to pay attention to:
First Stage – Proestrus
This stage is when the dog’s body will start to prepare for mating. It can last anywhere from three to nine days on average, but the maximum it can go up to can be 17 days. During this time, the vulva of the dog will start to swell visibly, and there may also be some bloody discharge.
However, many dogs will clean themselves up before you even notice it. Pay close attention to your dog to see whether she is cleaning more than usual. One of the significant signs of a female dog in heat behavior is that your dog will become clingier. She will start to follow you everywhere and will hold her tail closer to her body.
Second Stage – Estrus
This is the primary mating phase. On average, it can last for nine days but has been noted to be as short as three days and can extend to a maximum of 21 days. At this time, the discharge will become clearer or have a brownish tinge to it.
Your dog may also choose to urinate frequently and mark spots outside. It’s a way to share her pheromones and indicate her readiness to mate. Ovulation occurs within two or three days after the dog has mated successfully.
Third Stage – Diestrus
If the dog has mated, this is the pregnancy stage and can last anywhere from 60 to 90 days. Even if the dog has not mated, it will enter the diestrus state during which time, the vulva will start to return to its normal state. Any signs of discharge will also disappear completely.
Dogs that have not mated may exhibit signs of pregnancy at this time. You will have to check with a vet to confirm whether it is a false pregnancy or a real one. Many dogs can also accidentally mate without the owner finding out. This is often the reason for surprise litters.
Fourth Stage – Anestrus
This is the resting stage of the dog’s body. It is when a uterine repair takes place, and during this time, there is no hormonal or sexual behavior exhibited by the dog. This stage will last the longest anywhere from a minimum of 90 days to a maximum of 150 days. After this, the dog will go back into the first, proestrus stage again.
These stages will answer the common question: how long do dogs stay in heat? Based on the symptoms, it will also help you prepare to look after your dog appropriately.
How Frequently Does the Dog Come Into Heat?
It can take a year or two before the dog has an established cycle. For some dogs, it can take 18 months after their first heat before they enter into a regular heat cycle. If you are a breeder, you might want to create a record to keep track of your dog’s cycle.
Moreover, smaller dog breeds may get into heat when they are six months old. In comparison, larger dog breeds may not experience their first heat until they are 18 to 24 months old. Once the first heat cycle occurs, your dog may experience estrus once every six months.
This factor again hinges on the breed and size of your dog. Smaller breeds like toy breeds might experience their heat cycle 3 to 4 times in a year. Larger dog breeds, such as Great Danes, St. Bernard’s, or Wolfhounds, might only go into heat once in 12 to 18 months.
High Risk of Infection – Pyometra
During the heat cycle, there is a high risk of an infection known as pyometra. In this case, your dog might start showing pus in their discharge. This requires immediate medical attention as it can be life-threatening for a dog.
In some cases, visible signs of pus may not be present. Instead, the pus may be collecting in the cervix of the dog. Instead, they might have a loss of appetite, high fever, and may even refuse to drink water. Take your dog to the vet immediately if you notice any of these signs.
Products to Use During the Heat Cycle
While most dogs tend to be meticulous about cleaning themselves, dealing with bloody discharge for 3 to 4 weeks can be messy and extremely unsanitary. It’s a good idea to use some dog products that will help to keep your dog clean and prevent any chances of infections like pyometra from developing.
The following are our top recommendations for you:
Our Recommendation-Wegreeco Washable Female Dog Diapers
The Wegreeco washable female dog diapers are a must-have. Available in a pack of 3, they are made from durable and absorbent materials. They also have a pad that is sewn into the diaper. For maximum comfort, the diapers have no distracting attachments and can be tightened with strong Velcro. The diapers are available for dogs of all breeds and sizes.
Our Recommendation – Paw Legend Reusable Female Dog Diapers
These are highly recommended because of their leak-proof nature. They’re perfectly designed to fit dogs of any breed, and they are made with maximum comfort in mind. The diapers can be machine-washed, have Velcro fixtures, and you can get a pack of three with ease.
With the help of these products and the information mentioned here, you can easily prepare for your dog’s first heat cycle with ease.