If you’re talking about the cramps experienced when PMS (post-menstrual syndrome) is happening with girls and women, the answer is NO. Bitches do not feel or have cramps during their ‘period,’ known as ‘heat.’ Remember, female dogs do not have a menstrual cycle like that of humans, which happens every month. Heat time comes around twice every year and lasts between a fortnight and three weeks. During this period, the female dog is ready to get it on with a male dog – if you know what I mean.
A bitch experiences other symptoms or showcases different types of behavior, and these details will be explored further in this article.
All You Need To Know About A Dog In Heat
A female dog that has not been spayed is the perfect candidate for going into heat. In this rather long section, you will explore the nuances of bitches and the biennially moments of fertility.
Once you know about dogs and their heat, you will have the following boxes checked:
1. You will be better in terms of preparedness, such that your female dog’s heat time doesn’t take you by surprise.
2. You will prevent and avoid your female dog from getting pregnant without planning.
3. You will plan new pet parenthood – puppies will come your way when you want.
4. You will contain the unpredictability of female dogs in heat. They become as crazy as even to take off and run away from home.
5. Also, you will keep good track of your canine darling.
The Period Of The Female Dog
The best statement to start with is this – all mammals and any other animals that give live birth have a period. However, it takes different shapes and forms depending on the animal. The female dog’s period is not very different, but there is a line to be drawn. Like humans, female dogs go into heat upon puberty. Most dogs move from pre-pubescence when they clock six months, but it varies from breed to breed. The first heat cycles of a female dog come irregularly, but normalization happens after the first two years.
Knowing A Dog That Is In Heat
Let’s change the method of presentation. How about we tabulate the symptoms of a dog that is in the heat? Although the behavioral pattern varies from dog to dog, there are generals. Read on and determine the signs or symptoms of the heated period and what each detail refers to.
|No.||Sign Or Symptom||Attribution|
|1.||The dog will be observed urinating more often.||Changes in its reproductive system|
|2.||Her leg will be raised differently while she urinates. Also, that will happens when she takes notice of a male dog.||The need to get engage in sex with a male|
|3.||It may start to pay attention and focus on male dogs||The need to get engage in sex with a male|
|4.||It will show signs of becoming affectionate.||The need to get engage in sex with a male|
|5.||It will become aroused and lazy.||The need to get engage in sex with a male|
|6.||Its vulva will be swollen.||Changes in its reproductive system|
|7.||Some discharge that is either straw-colored or bloody will be emitted from its vulva.||Changes in its reproductive system|
|8||It will excessively and continuously lick its genital area.||The need to get engage in sex with a male|
|9.||Its tail position will change.||The need to get engage in sex with a male|
|10.||It may show aggression, nervousness, or agitation.|
With the above clues captured from your dog’s behavior and physical disposition, you can deduce the particular heat cycle stage that she is experiencing.
The best way to understand the heat cycle of a female dog is to break it down into its constituent stages. Have it in mind that the average heat cycle runs for about 21 days. Like human periods, this number may change depending on some underlying conditions and other factors.
An interesting fact is that female dogs that are in heat attempt to run away from home. However, the heat cycle may not be the only thing making the female behave that way. What happens is that male dogs that smell her heat start to track her down. A male dog that is in pursuit of sexual pleasures cannot be stopped.
To be safe, you need to closely monitor your dog as they go through their heat cycle. There are GPS trackers that are available in the market. When your female dog runs away, you can use the locater to triangulate their location.
The Stages Of The Dog Heat Cycle
This section captures the critical details of the dog heat cycle. As a starter, you should know that the process is divided into four parts: proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus.
The dog heat cycle starts with this stage, which lasts between 3 and 17 days. For many dogs, however, the period is over a week – around nine days. The physical change that notes the start of this stage is the vulva swelling. During this stage, you may observe the following changes with your female furry friend:
a. A change In The Dog’s Personality
Your dog’s temperament will fall between mildness and severity. At one moment, the dog in proestrus will show signs of affection and act in a clingy way. At the next, they will show signs of irritability and agitation.
b. Changes In The Dog’s Appetite
Your dog will push her food bowl away during this stage, or maybe, she may eat more than usual. A spike in her food habits should be seen as a sign of a starting cycle.
c. Vulva Swelling And Bleeding
This is a common sign of proestrus. Depending on the dog’s breed and age, the amount of swelling differs. While other dogs swell a lot, others have it slightly.
If any bleeding occurs, it is usually light in the initial days but grows heavier as the week progresses.
d. Tucking Of The Tail
Since the vulva is swelling, the female dog tucks in her tail between her legs. This reaction is meant to guard the vulva. Apart from tail tucking, the dog may sit down when they see another dog approaching.
On average, this stage lasts for nine days. Typically, we are talking about 3 to 21 days of this second phase of the heat cycle. This stage is the peak of the heat cycle and is similar to the ovulation window in humans. The dog’s ovaries start to release eggs, which will await fertilization as the dog is fertile. Unlike the previous stage where the dog may act repulsively, the female will be more accepting and will welcome any male company. The bitch will switch and wiggle her tail to the side. Also, she may want to spend more time outside than usual, which is in a spirit of instinctual behavior. Here are some of the symptoms of this stage:
a. A Light Discharge
In the previous stage, the discharge was brightly red. In this one, the color will change to something close to pink.
b. The Vulva Softens
Since she is prepared to get penetrated, the initial swelling will subside to make things easy.
c. Her Body Language Changes From Nervousness To Flirtation
This is natural as she wants to get male attention. She will run towards and past a male dog and hold her tail high out of the way.
After estrus, fertility ends with the taking over of the diestrus stage. Diestrus lasts for about 2 to 3 months (60 – 90 days). If the dog got impregnated during estrus, the diestrus period counts as gestation and will end with the birth of the pups. Here are some of the nuances of this stage:
a. The Vulva Swelling Will Gradually Start To Disappear
Within a week, the swelling will be gone. Nevertheless, the vulva will remain and look like it is slightly enlarged.
b. The Dog Will Engage In Less Flirtatious Behavior
It doesn’t matter whether the dog is pregnant or not. The conditions in this stage are lacking in that the dog is less interested in sexual activity, and thus, less interested in wooing males.
The female dog’s heat cycle ends at this stage, and dog experts know it as the resting stage. At any one moment, most female dogs are usually in this stage. It lasts for between 100 and 150 days. When this period elapses, the bitch starts the cycle again:
Helping A Dog In Heat
When your female dog is on heat, you shouldn’t take it as a disease or something that needs medical attention. However, this period is a sensitive one. It may be annoying to deal with the situation mainly because stray dogs will want to engage with your dog. If you decide to take a walk, it may not be easy because the female dog will attract all the attention.
As captured earlier, the female dog heat cycle kicks in 6 months into the dog’s life. For larger dog breeds, this may happen in 8 months. Eventually, the time will come and last between 7 and 10 days.
The ultimate solution to deal with heat cycles is by getting your dog spayed. But before you go for that surgery, how will you help your dog?
There are a couple of ways to make your female dog’s heat cycle more comfortable for them. The heat period is usually tense, and helping the dog is an excellent way to make them feel relaxed.
1. Give Your Dog Extra Attention
During the stage of the cycle, your dog may seem more loving. However, other bitches may become irritable by the minute. If you give the dog the extra attention that she craves, it will be of no harm. It may help the bitch to keep the hormones off her mind.
2. Spoilt The Dog A Little Bit
During the heat cycle, the female dog may lose its appetite. The best way to get her back to eating is to supply treats such as dog snakes and baby food meat that lacks onions or garlic. The treats will entice her into eating. If you see that the dog is experiencing diarrhea during the heated period, feed it with some burger (boiled), ensuring that all the fat is drained off and there are lots of rice.
3. Get The Dog Distracted
A heated dog has a lot going on in their mind. What you should do is engage them in a friendly game to keep the dog of its thoughts. You can try taking it out for exercise walks, as it will get the dog tired, and a nap may follow.
4. Keep All Smells Away From The Male Dogs
During the heat period, the female dog emits a particular scent that draws intact males to herself. If your female dog is in the house, ensure that all the windows are closed. This way, the intact males will not detect the scent, and thus, they will not start scratching at your doorstep. Remember, the smell is too strong – it can lure males even when they are far from the female.
5. Lock The Female Dog Up
The heated period brings a couple of wants, and one of them is the female yearning for the attention of a male. If you leave your door open, your dog is likely to stray – no matter how they love you or their home. The heated stage usually brings on a mission, and the female can escape and go searching for a male.
Avoid leaving the female in the yard alone. The spaces between the yard’s fence’s shingles are enough for mating to happen.
6. Clean The Female Dog
When you give the bitch a good scrubbing, she will have minimal smells. Thus, male dogs will not pick the weak scents and pursue the female. Try getting the dog to bathe twice a day. Also, you can buy female dog diapers, which will help to prevent the heat cycle’s messes.
As you have seen, there are a couple of methods to keep your dog relaxed in heat. If you stick to the script, your dog is unlikely to engage with the intact males in the neighborhood. The heat cycle days will go fast, and you will have a couple of months to prepare for the next.
If you think the methods are too hard to keep up with, book surgery with your vet and get your dog spayed.