When women go through menopause, they stop having their period, 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.
As long as a female dog is not spayed, she can continue to get pregnant every time she goes into heat. If you are wondering, "At what age does a dog stop going into heat?" the answer is "never."
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About dog menstruation
Dog menstruation does not occur once a month as it does with humans. Female dogs get their period every four to 12 months, and during this time, they will be in heat for one-and-a-half to two weeks. When a female dog is in heat, a male dog can impregnate her. Signs of heat in a female dog include bloody discharge and swollen genitalia. Female dogs in heat may also urinate more frequently to signal to male dogs that she is receptive to breeding.
A female dog will usually get her first period around 6 months of age, but it could happen earlier or later. Female dogs should be spayed to prevent unwanted pregnancies, pet overpopulation, and homelessness. Spaying your female dog can also help prevent serious health problems, like pyometra, which can be life-threatening if not treated immediately. Your veterinarian can help you decide on the best time to spay your dog.
Should you breed your dog before spaying her?
There is no need to delay spaying your dog, especially since there's no medical benefit to allowing a dog to complete a heat cycle or have a litter before being spayed. Irresponsible breeding and "oops" litters contribute to unwanted pets who languish in shelters. If you are part of a responsible breeding program, your responsibility is to do it in a way that will keep your dog as healthy and happy as possible.
Female dogs should not be bred on their first or second heat cycle, and any responsible breeder will follow this guideline. Dogs should also never be bred on consecutive heat cycles. Over time, repeated breeding and pregnancies take a toll on a dog's health and affect their quality of life.
Do dogs go through menopause?
Since menopause in dogs does not happen, a female dog can get pregnant through her senior years, but 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.
Helping your dog through a heat cycle
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 inside and 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 to prevent unwanted attention from male dogs. 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 and keeping her well-hydrated. Of course, you can also avoid your dog's heat cycle altogether by spaying her. This will allow you to enjoy activities together without worrying about the discomfort her heat cycle could bring.