Heat Cycles in Dogs and Cats

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Heat cycles are those times of year when pets are fertile and may be bred.  In dogs heats normally occur twice a year and can last up to 3 weeks in lots of pets.  Symptoms include:

Vaginal swelling

Bloody discharge

boosted attraction of male dogs

Typically family pets over 6 months of age may start their first heat cycle  It is crucial that during this time animal guardians not allow their female dogs off leash and/or unsupervised due to the possible presence of male dogs, as a lot of female pet dog bitches will allow breeding during this time.

In cats heats can occur. Unspayed female cats usually have 2-4 heat cycles per year, but may have many cycles certain times of year such as spring or fall. Unlike dogs, cats usually don’t have vaginal swelling and/or discharge, but they become a lot more affectionate typically lifting their hind end off the ground, as well as vocalizing and rolling on the floor.

It is best to spay a female pet dog and /or cat to avoid unwanted pregnancies, and adding to the pet overpopulation problem already present.  I normally recommend waiting 30 days after a pet goes out of heat to have them spayed.  due to recent evidence of boosted health benefits later on in life, I recommend waiting to spay a female pet dog until sexual maturity at age 10-12 months.  Cats can be spayed over 6 months of age, although lots of shelters are doing them much younger.

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