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How do I know if my female dog is in heat?

If your pet is a female dog, you must be prepared to deal with certain times when she will show the need to reproduce. It is therefore important to know how to recognize these periods and when they will start, to be able to manage certain changes in behavior so as not to be surprised by a pregnancy that you did not expect.

What is a female dog in heat?

Heat is a period of time that occurs when the female dog is mature, generally twice a year: each time, for about three weeks, your female dog will feel the need to mate, and therefore to reproduce.

Finally, it is important to know that menopause does not exist in dogs, so your female dog will be able to reproduce from her maturity to her death; even a very old female dog can still give birth.

When does a female dog go into heat?

The age at which the first heat occurs depends on the breed, or more importantly, the weight of your pet. Small female dogs (Jack Russel, Yorkshire, etc.) come into heat the earliest, between five and eight months.

In medium-sized female dogs (Australian shepherd, beagle, etc.), the first heat can start during a wide period from eight to 18 months of age.

Large female dogs (Tervuren type, Dog de Bordeaux, etc.) have a late first heat, which can occur between 10 and 18 months.

Finally, you should know that it is better to wait two and a half or even three years to let your female dog reproduce. When they are younger, even if they feel the need, their uterus is not always ready to receive a litter of puppies, and the female dog may suffer the consequences later on.

How to spot heat?

The first physical sign that one can notice when a female dog is in heat is that her vulva is swollen. You can also notice that sometimes there is a discharge coming out of her vulva, sometimes with a little bit of blood (no reason to panic about the blood, it's perfectly normal).

In terms of behavior, the female dog will be very "lazy", she will spend most of her time sleeping, and will have no or very little desire to play, even if she is naturally active and playful.

To be really sure that your female dog is in heat, the best option is to have her meet a male. She will be very interested in him and will want to sniff his anus and sex with her tail in the air.

If she agrees to let herself be impregnated, she will lower the front of her body, with her tail in the air and her rump stretched out. If not, she will violently push the male away, barking, growling, and fighting if necessary.

It's up to you to let her breed with the male or not. If you are planning to have someone look after her or even board her during a vacation when she is in heat, it is very important that you inform the person(s) concerned so that they can act accordingly.

How to behave as a master during hot weather?

At home, there is no need to change your behavior towards your female dog. It is during walks that you will have to be attentive, because your female dog's behavior towards males will change. As mentioned above, she will show interest and not always listen to your commands when you give her one. Don't get more upset with her than necessary though, this is a natural time for her.

When it comes to meeting males, it all depends on your choice. Either you want her to have a litter (as a reminder, it is better to wait until she is 2 and a half or 3 years old for her own good), and in this case, you will simply let nature take its course when she meets a male who satisfies her, or on the contrary, you do not want her to reproduce and in this case it may be necessary to tie her up when you meet dogs, or at least be very careful and be ready to separate them if she decides to stretch her rump.

You now know how to spot when your female dog is in heat, when it can happen, and how to act accordingly. Be patient with her during these periods. It's normal for her behavior to be difficult during heat. And if you can't handle it, remember that spaying is an option.