A dog in heat can be very different from when he is not in season. She may show aggression or become more clingy. As female dogs do have periods, you may also notice vaginal bleeding which needs cleaning up.
As your dog grows older, the change in your dog’s hormones can cause serious medical conditions, and even unwanted pregnancies are not impossible.
We take a look at what age a dog stops going into heat and what you can do to stop your dog from going into heat.
Do Dogs Ever Stop Going Into Heat?
Dogs don’t have the same reproductive cycle as humans. They don’t have menopause, and therefore also don’t stop going into heat.
However, dogs that have not been neutered or spayed do have cycles where they bleed twice a year throughout their lives. The first time is when they are in estrus (going into heat) and the second time is during ovulation.
This bleeding occurs because of the presence of estrogen and progesterone in the bloodstream. The hormones cause the lining of the uterus to thicken and become more sensitive.
When this happens, it causes the uterine muscles to contract, which leads to bleeding.
When Do Dogs Start To Be In Heat?
In general, bitches start to go into heat between the ages of six months and two years.
But there are some breeds of dogs that mature earlier than others. As a rule of thumb, it is believed that smaller breeds start being in heat earlier, while larger breeds of dogs take more time to mature.
For example, Chihuahuas tend to mature at about one-year-old, while Great Danes tend to reach maturity at around 18 months old.
What Happens When A Dog Is In Season?
When a dog is in season, then he is sexually fertile and can reproduce. This means that the sperm of a male dog will be able to fertilize an egg, and female dogs produce eggs.
During this period, a female dog’s body produces large amounts of estrogen and progesterone. These two hormones stimulate her to produce eggs.
A male dog’s penis becomes erect and he may begin to urinate more frequently. He may even try to mount other dogs. The average time when a dog is in season is for around three weeks. Bitches can have up to two seasons per year.
During that time, female dogs produce pheromones to attract a male dog, even from a distance. You may also notice that your female dog stands with her tail up to allow a male dog to mount her.
Bitches behave very individually when they are in heat. Some dogs are shy, while others become more aggressive. And yet again, other dogs will be more attached to you during this time.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Is In Heat?
There are several ways to tell if your dog is in heat. One of the easiest methods is to look at her vulva. When a bitch is in heat, her vulva becomes swollen and red. It’s usually visible through her fur.
You can also check out her urine. A bitch who is in heat will urinate more frequently than usual. She’ll also have a stronger odor.
Why Does It Look Like Your Dog Stopped Being In Heat?
Bitches produce estrogen and progesterone hormones all their lives. However, your dog may not always show signs that she is in heat.
When your dog gets older, her behavior may change and she may also not be as active as a young dog. This is nothing to worry about.
It is all just part of getting older. When a dog doesn’t show any clear signs of wanting to mate anymore, then this is often called the “silent season”.
As a pet owner, it is however important to remember that your dog can still get pregnant, even if she is not displaying any signs of being in season.
Can You Stop A Dog Going Into Heat?
You may have different reasons why you don’t want your dog to be in heat. Perhaps she behaves aggressively, or she may start showing other unwelcome behavior.
If you don’t want to use your dog for breeding and you want to avoid unwanted pregnancy, then it’s best to stop her from going into a heat cycle. There are many ways to prevent a bitch from becoming in season. The best way to do this is by getting your bitch spayed.
Spaying is a surgical procedure where the ovaries are removed. This stops the production of estrogen and progesterone. Spaying has also many other great benefits. When your dog gets older, she is at a higher risk of developing hormone-related diseases, such as uterine cancer and pyometra.
These diseases are all caused by changes in hormone levels. If your bitch still produces these hormones, then she is at risk of developing these diseases.
If you get your bitch spayed, she will stop producing these hormones and the risk of hormone-related illnesses will go down significantly.
Do Female Dogs Still Have Periods After Being Spayed?
No, your female dog will not have periods anymore after she has been spayed. The spaying procedure involves the removal of her entire reproductive tract, including the uterus and her ovaries.
These parts of the body typically produce sex hormones. With their removal, the dog doesn’t produce these hormones anymore and this stops her periods as well as her being in heat.
Can You Safely Spay An Older Dog?
Even older dogs can get pregnant, and just like in humans, this is often associated with greater risks. To avoid late pregnancies, pet owners may want to consider spaying their older bitch.
However, there are some things you need to keep in mind before deciding on whether or not to spay your dog. The first thing to consider is how old your dog is. As mentioned earlier, older dogs tend to display less interest in mating than younger ones.
This means that they may not be actively looking for a mate, although unwanted pregnancies can still happen with dogs.
Another factor to take into account is how healthy your dog is. If your dog is suffering from health problems, then it would be better to wait until she recovers completely before performing an invasive surgery like spaying.
Also, make sure that your dog is not overweight. Obesity can lead to complications during surgery, so it is always best to maintain a healthy weight when possible.
What Are Some Of The Risks Associated With Spaying My Dog?
Spaying is a very safe procedure. Vets perform this operation regularly and complications are rare. However, there are certain risks involved, which should be taken into consideration.
One of the most common side effects of spaying is urinary incontinence. This can occur if the bladder muscles are damaged while removing the ovaries.
Other potential risks include cysts forming in the uterus, infections, and even death.
Risks Of Not Getting Your Dog Spayed
Not only do unspayed females face increased risks of disease, but they may also behave differently. Unspayed bitches might become aggressive when they are in season. This could lead to her harming other animals or humans.
This may also lead to destructive behavior such as chewing on furniture or destroying shoes.
Another considerable risk of not having your dog spayed is unwanted pregnancies. As female dogs are fertile for their entire lives, they can reproduce at any age.
If you don’t want puppies, then having your dog spayed is the only option.
Can I Get My Dog Spayed Without Surgery?
As mentioned above, spaying is a surgical procedure. However, there are alternatives available. Some vets offer non-surgical options such as Ovariohysterectomy (OHE).
In OHE, the ovaries are removed without cutting open the abdomen. This method has fewer risks than traditional spaying, but it is still an invasive surgery.
It is important to note that OHE is not recommended for all breeds. For example, breeds that have a high tendency to develop mammary tumors should not undergo this type of surgery.
Dogs are fertile for their entire lives, and they never stop being in season until you spay or neuter them.
Many factors go into determining when to spay a female dog. Older dogs are more likely to show less interest in mating, which makes them less prone to becoming pregnant.
However, there are many positive health factors in favor of spaying, including a significantly reduced risk of ovarian cancer.