Menopause In Dogs: Can Bitches Get Too Old For Heat Cycles?

Generally, we define menopause as the cessation of the female reproductive cycle in humans, but what about menopause in dogs? Does it exist? The answer to the question will depend on whether dogs actually menstruate or not. Canines and their human owners share a lot of things in common as mammals and you would be surprised at just how similar your body is to your pet.

Read on to find out interesting details on your bitch’s heat season, when they are likely to fall pregnant, how to help a dog in heat, and when their fertility rate is likely to start depreciating – if it ever does.

Menopause In Dogs, Does it Exist?

Menstrual cycle in dogs does not exist, what a dog will pass through is referred to as oestrus cycle which is called the heat cycle or heating season in a layman’s term.

Some bitches start their cycle as early as six months old while some may start later at nine months or so. After the first oestrus cycle, expect it to reoccur every six months or so, and if your pooch is one of the smaller breeds, the heat period can occur up to three times yearly.

Since the oestrus cycle starts early in dogs, pet parents might just be wondering if menopause in dogs will come early as well. The answer is no, the canines are distinct from humans in the sense that they will continue to have their oestrus cycle in senior age; age notwithstanding, there is nothing like menopause in dogs.

What To Expect When A Female Dog Is On Their Period

Since all breeds are not the same, their behaviour during the heat cycle may vary. The earliest signs to expect from a dog in the heating season is behavioural change and change in energy level. Some bitches may well turn aggressive or become more reserved while others may go to the extreme and suddenly become more friendly and outgoing. Whichever may be the case, any abrupt and otherwise unexplainable behavioural change is a sure sign that the heating period may have begun or is imminent.

However, the more telltale signs are not usually behavioural, they are rather physical. The colour of the bitch’s vulva may change to a more vibrant red or pink and become saggy or swollen. The signs may occur in the nipples which may also appear more sensitive, swollen, and deeper in colour. The rate of urination will increase alongside the level of thirst.

Vaginal bleeding may be evident in some dogs, though not as much as a menstruating woman. The size of a dog has something to do with the amount of blood; smaller breeds may produce little or no blood during the heat period. Nevertheless, there are still bitches that manage to keep clean during their oestrus cycle. One thing to be noted here is that the behaviour of any bitch is dependent on the phase of cycle they are experiencing as heat cycle comes in four phases;

1. Proestrus

This is the ovulation period of a dog when it may bleed but yet to become fertile. Small drops of blood may be evident and special pads can be used for the bitch to prevent stains. There will be anxiety to move outside the house and sexual conduct simulating mating will be experienced with other animals but the bitch will not allow a male to mount her. This may last for nine days.

2. Oestrus

At this stage, your pooch will stop bleeding but will start urinating frequently as a form of marking. If the dog is not for breeding, mark it closely at this time or she might well surprise you with a litter in the next 63 days. In a bid to look for a perfect mate, your pooch may become more affectionate and always eager to move out for walks, or restlessness or aggressiveness may set in. This period can last from three to 17 days.

3. Diestrus

This can take from 60 to 100 days and is dependent on an important factor which is whether the dog conceived or not. If conception took place, pregnancy and birth will follow. In the absence of conception, the bitch will be rejecting advances from males, consume a lot of food and gradually stabilize her behaviour. Attention should be paid to this phase as high hormonal level can lead some bitches to develop a psychological pregnancy which may successfully fool their owners.

4. Anestrus

This period starts after whelping for a pregnant bitch and it’s called the period of sexual inactivity or otherwise after the diestrus period. No sign of change will be noticed from one stage to the other. Anestrus may last for approximately 120 days, allowing the bitch time to rest and recover pending when the next fertile period will occur.

How To Help Your Menstruating Dog

Menopause in dogs
You can use special pads for your dog in the heat period source

If you have no plans of spaying your bitch, it is important to keep abreast of their heat cycle so as to give her the proper care. A good way to gauge a bitch’s heat cycle is to get the mother’s heating season schedule as it is often similar within family lines, but exceptions can occur. As menopause in dogs is not a possibility, always keep those special pads handy so that you can use them for her when the bleeding starts.

Again, enough hydration should be provided during the period of excessive thirst. There are dog parents who invest in a heat cycle calculator to know when their pets go into heat or estimate their future cycle.

Read Also: Can You Declaw A Dog? Why Declawing A Dog Can Be A Felony

How Old Is Too Old For A Dog To Stay Fertile?

Since it has been established that menopause in dogs does not exist, it will be quite interesting to find out when a bitch will start experiencing longer heat intervals. The heating season will begin a slow change process once a female dog attains the age of seven. At this age, the oestrus cycle will reduce from two cycles in a year to one cycle; the interval will continue to stretch as the pooch gets older. Thus, even in the absence of menopause in dogs, there are still factors that

An older dog may not bleed for a whole year, but this is not a sign of menopause in dogs as the heat cycle will surely come back; the canine reproductive system is designed that way.

Among the canine population, bitches are known to remain fertile throughout their adult life; however, the rate of fertility tends to decrease. More attempts may be needed to achieve a successful pregnancy, but note that gestation will become more difficult in older dogs and whelping will come with a higher risk of having stillborn puppies.

The only way to prevent the oestrus cycle in your bitch is a hysterectomy — spay procedure or oophorectomy — removal of her ovaries. In concussion, the heating cycle in older bitches will generally yield a lower rate of successful, as well as healthy pregnancies. The prime time for breeding in bitches is between 18 months and seven years; the heat cycle becomes infrequent and abnormal from seven years upwards and this decreases fertility.

Overall, you can’t rely on menopause in dogs to stop your female dog from having babies as this will definitely fail.

error: Content is protected !!