Health

When Can I Expect my Female Dog to Come into Heat?

german shepherd female dog

Owners that have not spayed their pup need to be aware of when their female dog will come into season.

You can expect your female dog to start coming into heat when she is between six and fifteen months old.

Smaller dogs tend to get there more quickly than larger breeds.

The average cycle length is fourteen to twenty-one days, give or take a few days, with younger dogs usually on the lower end of that time frame.

When a female dog’s cycle begins, they will start to bleed from the vulva.

At the start, this will be nothing more than a few drops, but the flow will steadily increase, and the vulva will become swollen.

female dog in heat

The general rule of thumb says that the female will begin to accept males for breeding somewhere between the tenth and thirteenth day of their season.

This is when the blood flow will sometimes start to decrease, and her vulva will become swollen.

Female dog owners need to be incredibly vigilant during these three weeks.

Interaction with male dogs needs to be restricted, and owners should have their female dog in their sights at all times.

That means NOT leaving her out in the backyard alone, even if you have a well-constructed, high fence.

Dogs of both sexes will go to extreme lengths to get at one another during this period.

german shepherd looking over fence

Calm female dogs that are usually happy to stay in their yards will climb fences and find ways out to get to a male.

This means that you need to keep females contained and in your sights at all times.

If this is something you cannot commit to, your female dog needs to be spayed.

Is My Female Dog in Heat?

female dog in heat

You must take the steps required to figure out when your dog is in heat, which starts by knowing what her vulva usually looks like.

Get in the habit of checking your girl’s vulva a couple of times per week and be on the lookout for drops of blood on her fur.

Take note of the date you see that. Most females will come into season twice annually.

If you have no plans on breeding your female you should get her spayed for a couple of reasons:

  1. It is the responsible thing to do to help reduce overpopulation.
  2. It will eliminate the stress, the precautions, and the mess that naturally occurs when a female dog is in heat.

When Should I Get My Female Puppy Spayed?

german shepherd puppy

There are some myths when it comes to spaying your female dog.

  • You shouldn’t spay your dog until she has had a litter of pups because this will make her a better pet. 

This is not true. A good pet is a result of temperament and upbringing.

  • My female’s temperament or protection instincts will decrease after being spayed.

This is not true. A dog’s temperament or primal protection instincts stem from genetics, not the capability to reproduce.

The average age to spay tends to be between four and six months of age. This will vary from Veterinary to Veterinary, so check with yours for more info.

spay and neuter

For years it has been recommended by experts to spay your female puppy before her first heat cycle for health reasons.

However, new data and research are discovering more significant long-term health benefits in waiting for your dog to develop and mature before spaying or neutering.

Spaying and neutering early are being linked to a higher risk of cancer (hemangiosarcoma, mast cell cancer, lymphoma, and bladder cancer).

Dogs spayed or neutered at six months have a greater risk of hip dysplasia and cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injuries.

Urinary incontinence in females spayed early is also common.

Spaying (female dogs) and neutering (male dogs) is a very common procedure.

The cost for the procedure varies, but click here to find discounted services by a licensed veterinarian in your area. (Courtesy of the ASPCA)

If you purchased your female puppy for breeding, you should take this endeavor very seriously.

german shepherd female dog with puppies

Dog breeding takes a lot of hard work, so you need to be sure that this is something you are willing to commit to.

Responsible breeding is about breeding to improve the breed.

It is a complicated process that is a lot harder than most people think, which is why only certain individuals make great breeders.

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