Breeding a dog relies on its heat cycle. Breeders and budding dog grandparents alike will often look for a safe way to fasten their dog’s heat cycle so they can get to breeding, and unfortunately, there are ways to do this.
The heat cycle in a dog is different from a regular human menstrual cycle, as dogs can’t be brought into their heat cycle to prevent them having to wait half a year until the next one.
However, whilst some of the methods we will recommend are safe for dogs, we don’t recommend bringing your dog into heat. An induced heat will make a dog less fertile than usual, so if they do have a litter, it will be a smaller one compared to one they could have naturally.
We also want to point out that whilst you can bring your dog into heat for breeding reasons, you shouldn’t get too comfortable doing this regularly.
Some breeders who are only in the business for the money won’t take into consideration the health issues they could be opposing on their dog, so sometimes, you’re just going to have to wait until the cycle comes naturally.
How to Bring Your Dog Into Heat Faster
Whether you’re a working breeder and you rely on your dog’s cycles for income, or whether you’re looking to speed up the process of your bitch having puppies, your dog’s health and safety should be your top priority.
Most breeders will allow their bitches to go in and out of their cycles regularly as they feel uncomfortable using unapproved hormones, which can be harmful to the dog. Just because you can somewhat control one of their heat cycles, doesn’t mean you necessarily should.
If you are looking for a safe and effective way to bring your dog into heat faster, here are our top tips.
Expose her to dogs
You know how female humans will often say how they sync up their menstrual cycles with their friends if they spend a lot of time together? Yup, the same applies to dogs!
Surrounding your dog with other bitches in heat might naturally speed up the process of her cycle as they all sync together. Not only this, but surrounding her with male dogs might excite her enough to trigger her maternal breeding instincts, which could also speed up her heat.
It’s not easy for a single dog to get much exposure to other dogs, unless you bump into other dogs on your daily walks. Try to befriend other dog owners to see if you can all meet up together regularly!
Ask your vet for advice
Your vet will be the most important point of contact when it comes to the wellbeing and health of your dog. They will be able to tell you safe ways to bring her heat faster, or they might advise you against it depending on her current state of health.
It’s not really safe to try and bring your dog into heat if she is too young. They need to settle into their heat cycle naturally for the best reproductive benefits. If you want to breed from your young bitch, your vet can perform an ultrasound and other tests to see how her reproductive system is doing. This is particularly helpful if you think your dog is late to her heat.
A stressful household can affect your bitch’s hormones, which could further delay her heat. The same can also be said for human menstrual cycles.
Your dog needs to be in a relaxed environment to prevent her from developing anxiety to bring her into heat.
Consider her diet
Picking the right type of diet for your dog can be a hassle. Certain breeds will have certain needs, and some dogs are downright picky. If you’re wanting to bring your dog into heat safely, make sure you are giving her foods that are packed with nutrients and vitamins to keep her healthy.
You should look for foods that are high in proteins, low in carbohydrates, and full of fatty amino acids and antioxidants. Avoid foods that have artificial flavorings and fillers, as these won’t provide any beneficial nutrients.
The Problem With PG-600
PG-600 is an unapproved artificial hormone that is designed to induce and force ovulation in farm animals like pigs. It can be used for dogs, but this is not recommended.
Not only will it reduce the size of her litter (compared to the size it would be through her natural heat cycle), but it can make future heats more unpredictable and might stop them altogether. Not really worth it for the sake of an induced heat.
The only time a reputable breeder should turn to PG-600 is if they have a mature bitch who has had at least four litters without induction.
Administering PG-600 is a painful and stressful process for the dog. It is injected into the muscle in their back leg at least four months after her previous heat. Once injected, there’s no guarantee that her heat will be fertile. Only around 45% of dogs who have been injected with PG-600 will come into heat a week later, but not all of them will be fertile.
The dog will then be injected with two doses in two weeks, which can be a huge source of stress and anxiety for the poor dog – which won’t help her fertility.
PG-600 is a cheap and easy drug for breeders to get ahold of, and because it induces the dog’s heat for it to come within at least a week, some breeders will use PG-600 regularly. However, this is an unapproved drug for dogs, as multiple injections of the drug can cause cystic ovaries.
PG-600 can also lead to behavioral changes as well as mental and physical ones. Your dog will become afraid and stressed every time she has to get the drug administered, which might make her act aggressively in defense (rightfully so). She might also have a change in her appetite, which will prevent her from absorbing the right amount of nutrients that she needs to have a healthy heat.
Stages of Heat
There are four stages of a heat cycle. Most dogs will go through two heats in a year, with 6 months in between. It will vary for each dog.
Stage 1: Proestrus
The first stage lasts around 9 days, and is when the estrogen levels rise because the eggs in the ovaries start to mature.
During this time, her vulva will be enlarged and she might begin to produce bloody discharge. She is getting ready to be penetrated by a penis for a later stage, but she will aggressively push any willing male dog away in this stage.
Stage 2: Estrus
The next 5-14 days will be the Estrus stage, which is where the bitch is fertile and fully in heat. The blood discharge will turn into a slightly pink, yellow, or clear shade. She will begin to walk around with her tail moved to one side, as she is ready for a male dog (a sire).
Her instincts will make her seem more excited for walks at the prospect of meeting a suitable sire. She will get creative and cheeky as she will try it on with any dog who has levels of testosterone. If you don’t want your dog to go through an unplanned pregnancy, make sure to keep an eye on her during this stage.
Stage 3: Diestrus
After the 24th day of the cycle, your dog will enter the Diestrus stage where she is no longer fertile. Her tail will move back to her original place and her discharge will turn back to the red color.
Male dogs will still want to mate with her in public as she is still carrying a scent, but she won’t get pregnant from their interaction.
Stage 4: Anestrus
The last stage, the Anestrus stage, lasts the longest until the next heat cycle. This is where her sex hormones are at the lowest and she is the least fertile.
It is during this time where breeders will want to bring her into her next heat so they can breed from her.
Helping a Dog in Heat
Dogs are pretty wonderful when it comes to heat and pregnancies, because their natural instincts kick in and they do most of the work themselves. However, a dog in heat can be a messy time for owners who don’t want their clothes and furniture stained with patches of blood.
Your dog will bleed throughout the first and third stages of her heat. She will produce a bloody discharge from her vulva, which she will mostly lick up. However, lots of owners like to put towels on furniture for her to bleed on, or they will use doggy diapers that work like sanitary towels.
During the second stage where she is fertile, the discharge will turn a straw color with the occasional hint of pink.
When and How Long Does a Dog Go Into Heat?
Dogs usually go into heat between the ages of 8 months to 18 months old, which is why veterinarians suggest spaying your dog before she turns 6 months old to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Each dog will have a different heat cycle from each other. In most cases, a dog will go into heat twice a year with 6 months of the final stage (Anestrus) separating the two. The actual heat itself is the second stage, which usually lasts around two and a half weeks. This is the best time for planning a pregnancy.
Stopping Your Dog From Going Into Heat
The heat cycle is completely natural and healthy for a dog, but not every owner wants to go through the hassle of dealing with blood and unwanted pregnancies. The only way to stop your dog from going into heat is to spay them.
Not every owner will want to spay their dog at 6 months old in case they change their minds about having a litter in the future. Spaying is a permanent solution that can, fortunately, can happen to a dog at any age.
This means that you could have a litter from your dog, and then spay her to prevent future pregnancies. Dogs don’t go through menopause like humans do, which means they will remain fertile throughout their lives unless they are spayed.
Spaying your dog is the best way to stop her from going into heat and stops any unwanted pregnancies. Thousands of unwanted litters are left at shelters every year who are often euthanized, which is why spaying is so important to keep those figures down. There are enough dogs in the world for you to contribute to them!
The safest time for a dog to undergo the spaying surgery is when she is 6 months old, though it can happen to her at any age. The reason it is safer for younger dogs to be spayed is that they are less likely to develop tumors in their memory glands, which can happen to dogs who are spayed when they are older.
You can’t talk about dogs, or animals of any kind, without considering the ethics surrounding them. Of course, it all comes down to a matter of opinion, but there are a lot of controversies surrounding bringing your dog into heat faster.
Breeders who depend on pregnant dogs for a living often try to produce as many puppies as possible to earn money, which not only is detrimental to the dog’s health, but can lead her puppies into households that aren’t ready for a puppy. Puppy farms are a rapidly growing issue that should not be contributed to.
Safe ways to bring your dog into heat can be useful for understanding when she has started her cycle, such as surrounding her with other dogs to sync their cycles, but you should ideally leave them to naturally enter their cycle.
So, there you have it. Whilst you can bring your dog into heat, it’s not necessarily the most ethical way to encourage litter. A dog’s heat cycle should be natural so that they can have the healthiest litter possible – which will often be larger, too.
Whilst some methods to fasten your dog’s heat are safe, you should avoid using unapproved hormones like PG-600 that could pose a plethora of health and mental issues.
Vets and animal lovers alike will agree that it’s not ethical or wise to bring your dog into heat faster than it needs to be.