When women go through menopause, they stop having their periods, experience hot flashes, and go through some additional physical, emotional, and hormonal changes while they transition into the next stage of life. Female dogs, on the other hand, do not technically go through dog menopause.
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As long as a female dog is not fixed, she can continue to get pregnant while she is in heat, or experiencing dog menstruation. If you are wondering, "At what age does a dog stop going into heat?" the answer is "never."
About dog menstruation
Dog menstruation does not occur once a month like it does with human women. Female dogs get their periods every four to 12 months, and during this time, they will be in heat for two to four weeks. A male dog can impregnate them during this time. Dog menstruation is like a human woman's period in that there will be a bloody discharge, and physical and emotional changes may occur.
A female dog will usually get her first period around six months of age, but it could happen earlier or later. If an owner does not want his dog to get pregnant, he should consider spaying her to prevent that. Some veterinarians want dogs to go through at least one heat cycle, while others will spay at six months before this can occur. It will be up to an owner to consult with a vet to see what is best for the dog.
Breeding later in life
The best time for a female dog to get pregnant is when she is young and not when she is a senior. Though she can technically get pregnant then, that doesn't mean it is a good idea. The breeding should stop at around five years of age for a small dog and eight years of age for a larger dog. There have been instances of dogs getting pregnant up to age 15, which could be dangerous.
If you breed a dog past her time, many negative effects could occur. For instance, it is more likely that she will experience stillbirth or not be able to properly feed her pups. The actual birthing process may be too hard for her as she gets older, and she may become exhausted. A lot of breeders following improper practices will keep getting dogs pregnant well into their senior years, which ends up hurting the dogs.
Caring for a menstruating dog
Though dog menopause does not really exist, there are things you can do to make your female dog feel more comfortable while she is in heat. Make sure you keep her in a fenced yard away from male dogs so she does not accidentally become pregnant. Your dog's energy levels may fluctuate, so if she needs to nap more often, then make sure she has a relaxing place to chill out.
Try to fit in 30 minutes of walking per day as you normally would, but don't overdo it. Avoid the dog park because the male dogs will try to mount her. Give your dog a bath or spot clean her to ensure that she is not getting dirty from her blood. Also, make sure she is eating well by giving her nutritious dog food.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.