While it is recommended that most pet owners spay or neuter their dogs, there are some owners that have their own reasons for leaving their dog intact. When a dog is not spayed or neutered he or she needs a higher level of care from a veterinarian that provides canine reproductive services. This is especially true if you have a female dog that you are breeding. At Holden Animal Clinic & Supply, we are committed to helping to care for your dog through everything that life might bring.
A Dog's Heat and Pregnancy
When a dog is in heat, pet owners usually have one of two goals. They are either looking to prevent pregnancy or encourage it. If pregnancy occurs, it lasts approximately nine weeks, and your dog will need special care before, during, and after that time.
A dog's heat cycle progresses through four stages.
- Proestrus is the first stage where there may be some slightly bloody discharge. Although this lasts an average of nine days, many pet owners don't notice the discharge because the dog takes care of it herself. Dogs are often act clingy toward their humans during this time and may hold their tails close to their bodies. Male dogs will be interested, but she will not be.
- Estrus - this second stage is the mating or "in heat" stage which also averages nine days. Bleeding will taper off, and discharge becomes more yellow to brown in color. Female dogs are interested in mating during this period, although actual ovulation is more likely to happen afterward. Urination becomes more frequent, and it is more likely that she will mark areas in and out of the home to show her interest.
- Diestrus is a stage of rest or resolution, where the dog's body resolves to its pregnant state, or when her body goes back to a more rested state and vaginal discharge stops. It lasts for about two months if the dog is not pregnant. Pregnancies last about nine weeks.
- Anestrus is the stage where the uterus repairs itself and hormones are calm. This lasts for three to five months in most dogs, until the cycle starts again.
When You Prefer Not To Mate
If your dog wants to mate, and you currently don't want her to, it can be a challenge. Be sure to help her keep up with her hygiene, and keep her away from other dogs, especially male dogs, as much as possible. Dog diapers can be used to help contain messes, if necessary.
Getting Your Dog Through Pregnancy
If you suspect your dog is pregnant, it is important that the see a Holden Vet as soon as possible in order to get the prenatal care she needs. Hormonal detection is possible when a dog is 3-4 weeks pregnant, and some recommend x-rays about six weeks into the pregnancy to determine the size of the litter and whether a c-section is necessary or not. Most dogs handle having their puppies on their own, but you can make sure she has what she needs to feel safe and comfortable. To learn more about all the ways to help a dog through her reproductive stages or pregnancy, or to schedule an appointment contact us at Holden Animal Clinic & Supply, Inc in Holden, MO, at 816-732-4412.