How to Make a Dog Come into Heat? 8 Methods to Induce Heat in Dogs
Heat, the sexual cycle in dogs has a certain cyclicity. The interval between heat cycles can range from 3-4 to 5-7 months. For some dogs, heat comes once every 11-12 months. However, there are situations when, for various reasons, including medical ones, it’s necessary to accelerate, provoke estrus. Let’s discuss how to induce heat in a dog and what methods you can use to stimulate estrus.
Reasons why your dog doesn’t go into heat
Regardless of whether or not a bitch will be accepted for breeding, owners should strictly monitor the sexual cycle of their female dogs by writing down the start and end dates of their estrus periods.
If a dog goes out of the heat, in case of long gaps between cycles, or abnormal symptoms (bloodless, weakly expressed heats) might indicate the following:
- Chronic, acute abnormalities in the reproductive organs.
- Endocrine diseases or conditions (diabetes).
- Emaciation, dramatic weight loss.
- Obesity, sedentary lifestyle.
- Hormonal imbalance.
- Pituitary gland, adrenal glands abnormalities.
- Ovaries hypofunction.
- Tumor-like processes in the body.
- Age-related changes.
- Anterior pituitary gland lobe issues.
If you notice any abnormalities in your dog’s estrous cycle or delayed first heat, we recommend taking your pet to the veterinary clinic for a comprehensive examination.
When you might need to make your dog come in heat
First, let’s list the cases when it may be necessary to artificially stimulate heat:
- Usually professional breeders who need to “standardize” the time of heat and birth of all their pets face this problem. In the future, this will greatly simplify the process of caring for pregnant dogs and for animals in the postpartum period.
- It happens that a highly suitable male suddenly turns up but a bitch is out of heat at the time and doesn’t even think about males.
- There are sometimes cases when a healthy dog doesn’t go into heat for a long time. Animals, in any case, need to give birth from time to time, as otherwise the risk of cancerous pathologies of the reproductive system increases dramatically.
- In very rare cases there are dogs who do go into heat but it’s very blurred and implicit. So much so, in fact, that few males react to them. In these cases, it’s also necessary to help your pet display her condition more vividly.
- If you signed your dog up for a show or competition but know that she will go into heat at an inappropriate time, you might want to trigger her heat beforehand.
NB: Shifting the dates of heats and artificially changing the heat cycles can have a negative impact on the health of your dog.
Common methods to trigger heat in dogs
- The easiest option is to find a current bitch and temporarily place your pet with her. This is easy to arrange if there is a kennel nearby.
- The simplest technique is to normalize nutrition. If you want your dog to be ready for mating faster, she must be provided with a complete, perfectly balanced diet. Normal content of vitamins and micronutrients is especially important.
- Another simple recommendation is to take your dog for a walk more often. Then the tone of her muscles, including the muscles of the internal organs, will come back to normal much faster. Accordingly, the sex drive will also show much sooner.
Medical methods of heat stimulation
Hormonal medicines are also commonly used for artificial heat stimulation. It’s categorically not recommended to give a dog any means of pre-empting or delaying the terms of heat without consulting with a veterinary professional. This kind of approach can cause serious disorders.
Uncontrolled use of drugs, especially medications that contain sex hormones, can cause endocrine disruptions and weight gain due to increased appetite, neoplasia (cancer), behavioral changes, or endometrial ablation. Therefore, the course of hormone therapy is selected on an individual basis and only by a veterinary doctor.
Here are some of the effective remedies to help artificially induce heat in a dog:
- Injections of chorionic gonadotropin (CG) serum, pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG), gravohormone (ovariotropin). Optimal effect is achieved through the simultaneous use of injectables and tablets (Octoestrolum, Synoestrol). The drug is administered to bitches subcutaneously, intramuscularly until the first signs of estrus. The treatment course should last no more than three weeks.
- Vitamin E. Meds based on vitamin E stimulate the sexual cycle and favorably influence the reproductive system of dogs.
- FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). A veterinarian will appoint a course of 9-10 days. The dosage is 0.75mg per 1kg of weight. Simultaneously, they’ll use CG with an interval of 24-28 hours.
- Estrogenic preparations combined with PMSG and CG – estradiol benzoate intramuscularly every two-three days on three to five injections or folliculin (estrone) daily during 5-7 days.
- Prolactin inhibitors (ergoline, bromocriptine). Recently, such agents have shown good results in stimulation of sexual cycle in bitches of different breeds.
NB: These estrus stimulation formulas are given as an example and must be chosen for every dog individually.
A few days (4-7) after taking hormones, you might notice proestrus bloody mucous discharge in your dog. There may be a change in behavior, increased appetite. Once the discharge has appeared, veterinarians will stimulate estrus by injecting PMSG at intervals of 48 hours. The drug is administered until the first clear signs of estrus. Cytology, ultrasound, and other diagnostic methods can help to determine if a bitch is in estrus.
Note that gonadotropin, in addition to stimulating estrus, also affects the number of puppies in the litter after a successful mating. Any side symptoms that occurred after taking the hormone to require an urgent visit to a veterinarian.
When you shouldn’t force your dog into heat
There are, however, many cases when artificial inducement of ovulation is a very bad idea:
- A dog that gave birth less than six months ago. Her body hasn’t yet had time to recover. Many “overprofessional” breeders are guilty of this, with bitches giving birth all the time. As a result, animals seldom live longer than six years, and puppies in litters often have many congenital anomalies.
- A bitch who already had her heat less than a month and a half ago.
- A bitch has recently had some kind of gynecological pathology. In these cases, a dog’s body also needs some time to fully recover.
- If you suspect chronic endometritis and other gynecological pathologies.
- A bitch is extremely emaciated or obese. In both cases, the first you should do is normalize the physical shape of the animal, and only then stimulate her sex drive. By the way, after the normalization of weight, the need for artificial simulation of heat will probably disappear. Your dog’s body will correct everything by itself.
- If your dog is 18 months old or younger or if she’s older than 6 years. It won’t do any good.
How to tell if your dog is in heat
There are several reasons why an owner should be aware of how heat occurs. First of all, to prevent an accidental pregnancy of the bitch but also to prepare her for a planned mating. How do you know when a dog is in heat? During estrus, a female dog shows the following signs:
- Bloody vaginal discharge.
- Swelling of the outer labia.
- An increase in the size of the nipples.
- Changes in the dog’s behavior.
In addition, heat is accompanied by changes in the animal’s hormonal balance. How much vaginal discharge is abundant depends on various factors: the size of the animal, age, as well as the period of heat and the individual characteristics of the body. Color and consistency also vary for the same reasons.
In females of small breeds, vaginal discharge is scarce, and owners can’t always determine exactly when the pet is in heat. That’s why it’s important to know about the initial signs of this process which will help you not miss the beginning of heat.
How many times a year can a dog go into heat?
Even dogs of the same breed can start going into heat at different ages, and the gaps between them are often different. If a dog doesn’t go into heat until she’s 2 years old, the owner should take the dog to the vet. This may be a sign of serious pathological processes – hormonal disorders or sexual sphere issues.
Normally a female dog goes into heat once every 6-12 months, the interval between the cycles is 4-6-7 months. All mixed and northern breeds go into heat once in 9-12 months, and all other breeds once in 5-6 months. If a female dog has her heat once every 3 to 4 months, it’s worth consulting a veterinarian. It’s possible that this frequency is due to hormonal imbalance.
How long does heat last?
On average, a dog’s heat lasts 3 weeks, plus/minus a couple of days. Again, this is related to the number, frequency of estruses, weight, and age of the female. In a young, healthy female, the duration and intervals between estrus are consistent. If heats last 3.5-4 weeks and the intervals between them are 6-7 months, this schedule should be regular.
If a dog in heat is bleeding heavily, whining in pain, her estrus comes too often or not on time, it’s worth taking your dog to a vet clinic. Older dogs go through age-related changes that also affect their sexual performance, so they may go into heat less frequently or have quiet periods for longer.
A dog may not have her heat for reasons like sickness, weakened state, or exhaustion. Silent heat is often the result of the frequent administration of hormonal drugs that prevent estrus. The health of the bitch during the period of the lactation and within 5-7 days after it requires special attention. And it doesn’t matter whether she had a mating or not.
So that you know when your dog will be in heat, it’s recommended to keep a heat cycle calendar or a journal. This helps to avoid inconveniences such as accidental mating and unplanned offspring.
And if a female dog is allowed to breed, it will be easier for the owner to plan the mating: choose a suitable male and carry out all the necessary preventive measures. In your calendar, write down the following:
- Heat duration.
- The day it starts and ends.
- Features of dog’s behavior at different stages of the heat, before and after it.
One shouldn’t think that an elderly four-legged lady won’t attract the attention of fertile males. Age is the last thing that males pay attention to and even elderly bitches let males approach them, regardless of their breed and size. Therefore, it’s necessary to control a dog in heat even if she behaves more calmly and shows no interest in males even during heat.
Heat is a natural process that’s necessary for a bitch to reproduce. But it involves a number of difficulties and owners should be prepared for them. In case there are any issues with that you can trigger your dog’s heat using various methods. The main thing is to make sure it’s really necessary and won’t harm your pet’s health.