The love life of a sexually intact dog usually follows a predictable pattern – with plenty of pitfalls. For one reason or another many dog owners do not have their female dogs spayed when they are puppies. So for those of you that do not believe in spaying, have forgot to get your female spayed or want your dog to have a litter of puppies, I am going to give you a quick rundown on what to expect.
On the average a female dog will be ready to mate when she is about one year old. However, it is really dependent on the breed as to when a female is ready to breed. The toy breeds like Yorkies are ready when they are six months old, while Great Danes and other large breeds are not ready until they are about two years old. A rule of thumb says most dogs are ready to mate when they reach about 80 percent of their adult weight.
What are the signs of puberty?
The vulva will be noticeably swollen and other then the discharge there are no other signs, no behavior changes, nothing to alert you, but the discharge. Of course, if there are any males in the area, you will notice them camping on your doorstep and trust me there is nothing you can do to get rid of them. I have been there and even have pictures.
There is an odor to the discharge and other pheromones that are released that will attract male dogs.
A typical female will go into heat about twice a year, however some breeds like German shepherds and rottweilers, tend to cycle often and breeds like the basenjis, do so less frequently.
Males have no noticeable changes as they grow, with the exception they will begin to roam and go looking for a receptive female.
I do not intend to go into the routine that a male and female dog goes into for mating purposes, but I will mention that it can last anywhere from five minutes to a half hour once a female is receptive to the male. The receptive period is about nine days after the first sign that the heat has begun and will remain that way for nine more days. Even if a female has mated early on, she will still welcome other males and as a result you can have several fathers producing one litter. If pregnancy occur, the gestation period for dogs of all sizes and breeds is about two months and a litter will consist, on the average, of six to seven puppies. Large breeds tend to have larger litters and smaller dogs fewer.
My purpose for writing this article, is to instill in your mind that if you have a female dog, please, have it spayed at an early age. Unless you are planning on breeding puppies, the whole ordeal can be a nightmare. I went through it once and until the heat is over the number of hungry males sitting on your doorstep can be overwhelming.
Spaying not only keeps the males away, it is healthier for your female and will help prevent mammary gland cancer. In neutering your male dog, you will not only keep him home and not roaming the streets looking for females, but also you will be helping prevent prostate and testicular disease in your dog.
The operations are simple and speedy. If you are unable to pay, there are many options out there, some counties offer free clinics, the Humane Society offers reduced prices and many animal shelters will offer aid.
The world is filled with too many abandoned puppies and kittens, only about ten percent ever get adopted, so please if you want a pet, be prepared to be responsible enough to care for it properly.
A female is in heat when you notice a discharge from her vulva. It is a mixture of blood along with a watery discharge. This will continue for about three weeks and will be repeated every time the female goes into heat in the future.