When a dog is in heat, it is receptive to mating with males. This stage is also known as estrus. During this period the level of estrogen hormone in the dog first rises sharply before decreasing leading to the release of mature eggs from the ovaries. Generally different dogs will have their first estrus in different stages of their life, for example smaller breeds will tend to have their first experience at their earlier age while the giant ones may have their first estrus within a range of 18 months to 2 years after birth. But how long does a dog stay in heat?
While the period stayed in heat by female dogs varies with different breeds, an average dog will stay on heat for 2-3 weeks. Estrus in un-spayed dogs usually happens for twice a year. During this stage, the dog may behave in an uncommon way. The dog may appear nervous; more alert that usual or even whine for no good reason. The shift of her hormonal balance may also make the dog to urinate more often than it normally does. We must also note that the type of food a dog consumes has a huge impact on his health and on the length of the heat. For example: eating grain free food may reduce the length of heat by 30% to around a few days.
Here are some of the signs to tell you that your dog is still in heat:
This is the first observable change that you can easily note when your female dog is in heat. And when the vulva resumes to its normal size, you will know that the estrus has come to an end. However, note that some dogs may still have engorged vulva even when they are not in heat and therefore you need to be a very observant person to note its change.
In case you did not notice the vulva of your dog enlarging; the vaginal discharge can also be another very clear sign to note. The amount of discharge varies in different dogs; some dogs may experience very tiny discharge while other may have heavy bleeding. At first, you will see bloody discharges which will then continue changing in color as the cycle progresses. But this is normal, as the time goes by, the discharge gradually changes to watery or pinkish red in color.
One of the major reasons for knowing the time period that a dog stays in heat is to prevent it from accidental pregnancy. However one of the best ways to prevent this from happening is by having your dog sterilized or spayed. But since it is very difficult to know the time your dog will experience its first cycle, vets usually recommend that you have your female dog spayed while it’s as young as two months.
Whereas this exercise of spaying dogs may at times be seen as oppressing the dog, it however has some benefits to the dog. Apart from preventing your dog from emergency pregnancy, it also protects her from breast cancer among other reproductive diseases.
Therefore knowing how long does a dog stay in heat is very important as you will be able to able to plan its social life. You will be able to know when the dog needs to venture out of the yard for mating as well as control the population of the pet.