Has the thought of breeding your dog ever crossed your mind? Or perhaps, maybe you have been recently overcome with worry whether your dog is pregnant or not? Well, whatever your case may be, if you are reading this article then you are definitely curious as to when can dogs get pregnant.
The simple answer is that when dogs generally experience their first estrus cycle, or rather the part of the reproductive cycle when they can get impregnated, at around six months of age, they will go into heat about twice a year. But there exist several other variables that can affect when your furry companion can get pregnant, so to further explain those let us look at the estrus cycle of female dogs and what this all means for the possibility of them having puppies.
Some signs that show your dog is in heat
If you have ever been, or currently are an owner of a female dog, than you know that it is not that simple and sometimes takes a bit more time to work out the specific time when your dog is in heat. One of the first ever signs that your dog is in estrus, which is another type of way of saying in heat or in season, is when the external vulva starts to swell.
Although, this may not be immediately obvious to less experienced dog owners, another sign to look out for is actually vaginal bleeding, which in some cases will not become obvious until some days after the estrus has already begun. Some animals even experience a small amount of discharge, while others can have some pretty heavy bleeding, much like a human period in that regard. Another thing to look out for is the fact that your dog will begin to pay more attention to her rear end, and may even start licking that particular spot.
When you hit the 7 to 10 day mark into the cycle, then this vaginal discharge will start to change into a more watery consistency and be pinkish red in color. Another thing to notice is that your female dog will also develop marking behavior when she is in heat.
What this means is that she will frequently pass small amounts of urine that contain pheromones and hormones which will signal to any interested males in the area that she will soon be up and ready to mate. But it is important to point out that, while female dogs will become attractive to male dogs right up from the start of their estrus cycle, they won’t be able or even ready to mate for another week to 10 days max.
Body language signs
Even some of your dog’s body language could contain signs that she is in heat. Some of those signs include: lack of focus, tucking their tail, ears up, hugging etc.
As most dogs reach their sexual maturity at around six months of age, there are still exceptions to that. Dogs that are particularly smaller have their first estrus cycle at a somewhat younger age than normal, while giant breeds might take 18 months to even 2 years before they come into heat for the first time ever.
Most of the dogs come into heat twice a year, roughly every six months, as we mentioned before, however this is not a really strict timetable and it can and does vary between different breeds and even between individual dogs!
Some of the smaller breed can even come into heat up to a whopping three per year, while some giant breed only come into heat once every 12 to 18 months. As with many species, it can take up to two years for your furry friend to settle into her regular cycle. A result of these many variables is the fact that there is not one particular season of the year that can be named as a “breeding season”, as all dogs go into heat based on their own internal cycle, independent of anyone else’s.
A heat cycle usually lasts for about 2 to 3 weeks, and ovulation generally happens when the vaginal discharge changes into a watery consistency, usually after a week to 10 days, and it is when the female dog is at her most fertile level and that is when she usually becomes more approachable to male dogs.
But her ovulation can possibly occur earlier, or even later on in the cycle than what the outline suggests, so that’s exactly why many struggle to work out the best time to mate their dogs. One solution to this is to consult your veterinarian as they can help you by conducting a blood test, or a smear test so you can determine the best time for mating.