Your dog’s sexual cycle

If you have a female puppy in the home and they have not been neutered, it is advisable that you take into account their reproductive cycles. If you know what is happening all the time, it will be easier for all of you in the house to help her to navigate them in the best possible way.

Although there are things that are particular to each breed, it is estimated that, in general, bitches reach puberty between the ages of six months and two years. The ideal age for them to reproduce is between two and six years, and it is recommended that they do not have a first birth after six years old and that they stop having any after nine years old.

The sexual cycle is made up of 4 stages (called proestrus, estrus, diestrus and anestrus) and lasts between 140 and 300 days. The bitch will be on heat twice a year, although in some cases it can happen every 7, 8, or 9 months, or even just once a year


The stages of the cycle:


This begins when your dog starts to bleed and their body begins to prepare itself for a possible pregnancy. Physical changes: the vulva will be visibly more swollen, some dogs urinate more frequently and emit pheromones, which attract the male.

It lasts between 9 and 13 days.


During this stage of the cycle your dog will look for a male. Oh a physical level they will still have losses, but to a lesser extent. At this stage ovulation occurs and the uterus continues to prepare itself for gestation. Towards the end of the cycle, their levels of oestrogen reduce and progesterone appears, which helps the pregnancy.


The period of being on heat comes to an end and the embryo begins to be implanted, if it has been fertilised. If it has not been fertilised, it is possible that the bitch will go through a period of pseudometrus / pseudogestation. This is a tricky time during which you should watch out for possible uterine illnesses.


This is the time of sexual respite. There are no hormonal changes. Its duration can vary.



Your bitch's reproductive cycle is very different to a woman's cycle. If you are wondering whether your bitch will bleed each month after the first oestrus, the answer is no. In fact, we should talk of oestrus, rather than menstruation in bitches. As we have already discussed, your bitch will generally come onto heat twice a year.


This is how she naturally shows she is ready to reproduce and will present a number of symptoms that will help you know she is on heat. These are physical and behavioural changes, and will be more or less obvious depending on the breed and age of your bitch. We can identify the following menstruation symptoms:

  • Your bitch might lack energy or be more irritable.

  • The vulva will be swollen.

  • She will be more interested in males that approach to smell her.

  • The nipples also swell in some bitches.

  • Lastly, vaginal bleeding, which indicates that the menstrual cycle has started.


You can give your bitch special care, such as:

  • Walk her on a lead to prevent contact with males and do not let her off even if she is very obedien

  • Give her a comfortable place and extra care;she will probably be more affectionate than normal.

  • Take care of her hygiene. Although she will lick herself frequently, you can also clean the perianal area with a gauze. However, do not bathe her when she is on heat to avoid infections.

Although the majority of female dogs lick themselves and stay clean all the time, to avoid blood stains around the house you can put special pull-ups on them, which are available in pet shops.

Articles that might
interest you