When Do Pitbulls Go Into Heat? Pitbull Heat Cycle Timeline & Stages
A dog’s heat is the period of time during which it’s ovulating and has a higher chance of getting pregnant.
Going into heat is a natural part of any adult Pitbull’s life and it’s very important for all owners to know when their dog is going into heat in order to provide it with the needed care.
So, when do Pitbulls go into heat? Pitbulls go into heat first when they reach puberty which is normally at 6 months of age. From then on, they will go into heat twice a year with a 9 to 10 months interval in between. The heat period tends to last for 2 to 3 weeks during which the dogs will go through various physical and behavioral changes.
Keep reading to learn more about the timeline and stages of a Pitbull’s heat cycle, how to tell if your Pitbull is going into heat as well as how to take care of your Pitbull and prevent any pregnancies during its heat.
When Do Pitbull First Go into Heat?
Pitbulls will first go into heat once they reach puberty which is usually when they’re at 6 months of age. You might not even notice when your dog goes into heat for the first time as there will be fewer signs.
For the rest of their lives, Pitbulls will go into heat twice a year with an interval of 9 to 10 months between each heat and the heat period itself will last 2 to 3 weeks.
However, keep in mind that the exact timeline of the heat cycle and any effects it has on the dog will vary from one dog to another depending on the dog’s age and health.
It’s generally recommended to keep track of your dog’s heat cycle by making note of the date once you notice any sign that it’s going into heat. This will help you anticipate any changes in the dog’s behavior so you provide it with the best care and also help you facilitate or prevent any pregnancies.
How to Tell If Your Pitbull Is Going into Heat?
During its heat cycle, your Pitbull will start going through certain physical and behavioral changes that are hard to go unnoticed which means you’ll be easily able to tell when it’s going into heat as long as you know what to expect.
So, let’s take a look at the common signs that your Pitbull is going into heat that you need to be on the lookout for:
- Your dog will start to urinate more frequently than normal and might have more accidents despite being properly potty-trained.
- Your dog will start raising its leg differently while urinating it when it notices a male dog approaching
- Your dog will start licking its genital region more frequently than normal in an attempt to keep itself clean for its mate.
- Your dog’s vulva will start swelling to become 3 to 4 times its normal size due to a change in hormones.
- Your dog will start bleeding or releasing vaginal discharge. The amount, color, consistency, and duration of the blood and discharge will vary from one dog to another depending on its age and health.
- Your dog will start excessively attempting to mount other dogs, objects, or even your legs. It will also welcome other dogs attempting to mount it at some point.
- Your dog will start exhibiting some nesting behavior which includes pawing at blankets, burrowing into small spaces, and digging a hole in the ground for its potential puppies. It will also take some of its favorite toys to its nesting area to rest with them.
- Your dog will start exhibiting severe mood swings. Sometimes, it will be affectionate and clingy, other times, it will be anxious or grumpy which might escalate into aggression
- Your dog will start paying more attention to dogs and release pheromones to attract them.
- Your dog’s appetite will go through rapid changes. Sometimes, it won’t be interested in eating anything and other times, it will be significantly hungrier than usual.
How to Tell If Your Pitbull Is Out of Heat?
The period leading up to the heat can last from 4 to 17 days, meanwhile, the period of the heat itself can last from 7 to 21 days.
As mentioned before, your Pitbull will go through various physical and behavioral changes during that time. So, the simplest method to tell if your Pitbull is out of heat is to observe when these changes stop and the dog goes back to normal.
For example, the dog’s vulva will soften and return to its normal size. The bleeding and discharge will also stop completely.
Make sure you are aware of all the changes that the dog goes through when it’s in heat, so you can tell exactly when they stop.
What Are the Stages of the Pitbull’s Heat Cycle?
The timeline of the heat cycle can be divided into four stages which are Proestrus, Estrus, Diestrus, and Anestrus. Each stage will last a certain period of time during which the dog will go through various physical and behavioral changes.
So, let’s break down the timeline of the Pitbull’s heat cycle and the changes it will go through during each stage in more detail:
The first stage of the Pitbull’s heat cycle is called proestrus. It can last from 4 to 17 days.
The changes that the dog will go through during this stage include:
- The dog’s vulva will become swollen. The extent of the swelling can vary from one dog to another, but t it’s typically 3 to 4 times larger than normal.
- The dog will start to start to tuck its tail between its legs or sit down whenever a male dog approaches in an effort to guard its vulva.
- The dog will start bleeding or releasing vaginal discharge which will be light during the first few days, then it will get heavier by mid-week.
- The dog will start releasing pheromones which are the hormones responsible for the scent that attracts male dogs.
- The dog will start to go through some mood swings. At some times, it will be affectionate and clingy, while at other times, it will be grumpy or even aggressive.
The second stage of the Pitbull’s heat cycle is called estrus. It can last from 7 to 21 days.
At this stage, the dog will be the most fertile as its ovaries will begin to release eggs for fertilization which is why it’s also known as the standing heat stage or the actual heat stage.
Other changes that the dog will go through during this stage include:
- The dog’s swollen vulva will start to soften enough to facilitate penetration.
- The dog will start untucking its tail and flagging it to welcome the approach of male dogs and indicate its interest in mating. This involves turning its rear toward any approaching dog while holding its tail high.
- The dog’s vaginal discharge will change color from bright red to a lighter pink.
The third stage of the Pitbull’s heat cycle is called diestrus. It can last from 60 to 90 days, depending on whether the dog gets pregnant. If you don’t know how to know if your dog is pregnant or not, you should check out this guide to Pitbull’s Pregnancy with a timeline where I explain all the signs, stages, and the timeline (week-by-week) of your Pittie’s pregnancy.
If there’s a pregnancy, this stage lasts from the end of the previous stage (estrus) the dog gives birth to its puppies.
At this stage, the dog will no longer be fertile and it will have no willingness to mate.
The changes that the dog will go through during this stage include:
- The dog’s vulva will not be as swollen as it was at the beginning of the cycle, but it will not go back to its normal size.
- The color of the dog’s vaginal discharge will change from light pink back to red and it will start decreasing gradually until it stops completely.
- The dog will still have a significant scent that will attract some male dogs.
- The dog will no longer be interested in mating, whether it’s pregnant or not, so it will stop flagging its tail and will not welcome the approach of male dogs.
The fourth stage of the Pitbull’s heat cycle is called anestrus. It can last from 100 to 150 days, making it the longest of all the stages and as soon as it’s over, the heat cycle starts will start over again
At this stage, the dog’s body will return back to its normal state which is why it’s also known as the resting stage.
How to Take Care of Your Pitbull When It’s in Heat?
When your Pitbull is in heat, it will be at its most vulnerable and it will need to be properly taken care of so it can handle the changes it’s going through as well as remain safe and healthy.
So, let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to take care of your Pitbull when it’s in heat:
- Never leave your dog without supervision to it from other male dogs and prevent unwanted pregnancy
- Always keep your dog on a leash when going outside and avoid taking it on walks in areas where it’s likely to run into other male dogs.
- Rub some menthol on the tip of your dog’s tail when going outside in order to mask its scent and make it harder for nearby male dogs to detect.
- Provide your dog with as much or as little attention it needs when it’s going through its mood swings. So, if your dog is feeling clingy, make sure to cuddle it and spend time with it, but if your dog is feeling anxious, make sure to give it some space.
- Try to keep your dog comfortable by providing it with a warm bed to rest in and giving it some of its favorite toys.
- Take your dog out for potty breaks frequently and avoid reprimanding it harshly if it has an accident inside the house.
- Make sure your dog is eating the appropriate amount of calories for its age and size so it can maintain its energy levels. Also, make sure that the dog’s food contains all the nutrients it needs to remain healthy.
- Try not to overexert your dog with exercise and make sure to give it a break to rest whenever it needs.
- Use heat diapers, which are similar to baby diapers with a hole in the back for the dog’s tail, to absorb any blood or discharge during the heat and prevent leakage.
- Monitor all the changes that your dog goes through and make note of the date to keep track of the timeline of the heat cycle.
- Take your dog to a veterinarian for a general health check-up or if any unexpected issues come up.
How to Prevent Your Pitbull from Getting Pregnant During Its Heat?
Unwanted pregnancies can be highly inconvenient for many dog owners. So, if you are not planning on breeding, Pitbulls, you need to take some precautions to prevent your dog from getting pregnant during heat.
The most effective way to prevent pregnancy is spaying the dog which is a medical procedure that involves surgically removing the dog’s reproductive organs to stop from going into heat.
However, this procedure is complicated and might not always be the best option for the dog’s health. So, in order to prevent pregnancy without spaying your dog, you need to keep it away from male dogs by any means.
Avoid taking your dog on walks in areas where male dogs are nearby and make sure to always keep your dog on a leash when it’s outside.
If you have male dogs at home, it’s recommended to have them stay at a friend’s house until the heat period is over. If that’s not an option, make sure there is a secure barrier, like a door or a dog gate, between them at all times.
If your dog accidentally mates during heat, you need to take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible to receive an injection that will prevent or terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
Do You Need to Spay Your Pitbull?
Spaying is a medical procedure that involves the surgical removal of the dog’s ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus which permanently prevents the dog from reproducing or going into heat.
You do need to spay your Pitbull if you want to prevent it from accidentally getting pregnant and reduce the risk of various health issues.
Other reasons to spay your pitbull include preventing it from developing any behavioral issues that come from its breeding instinct or out of convenience to avoid having to deal with the hassle of having a dog in heat.
However, keep in mind that spaying might not always be the best option for your Pitbull and you need to consult a veterinarian about the benefits and risks of the procedure to ensure that it will actually help your dog and improve its quality of life.
Now, let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits and risks of spaying your Pitbull:
|It will prevent the dog from going into heat which can be convenient if you want to go out in public without having to worry about other male dogs.||It will put the dogs at risk of developing other health problems such as cranial cruciate ligament rupture, hip dysplasia, mast cell tumors hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, and various orthopedic issues.|
|It will also prevent it from bleeding or releasing any vaginal discharge that can stain your carpets and furniture.|
It will prevent any unwanted pregnancies.
|It will stop the dog from producing specific hormones that are vital for its development.|
|It will reduce the risk of some health problems related to pregnancy such as uterine infections and breast tumors.|
You can learn about more benefits of spaying or neutering your dog in this article on how fixing your pitbull calms them down.
When Is It Best to Spay Your Pitbull?
Many veterinarians believe it’s best to spay your Pitbull when it’s old enough to tolerate being under anesthesia which is usually when the dog is at least 8 to 10 of age.
However, some veterinarians believe it’s best to spay the dog before its first heat cycle which is usually when the dog is around 5 months of age or younger.
Keep in mind that spaying your dog when it’s too young will it at risk of significant health problems as it will not be able to handle the anesthesia. Meanwhile, if you wait too long when the dog is older, you will be putting it at risk of getting pregnant when it’s in heat.
How Long After Heat Can You Spay Your Pitbull?
It’s recommended to spay your Pitbull at least 2 to 3 months after heat. Some owners might spay their dogs while it’s still in heat or immediately after, however, this is highly unadvised as the increased blood flow to the dog’s genital area at the time can complicate the surgery and put the dog at risk.
How Much Does Spaying a Pitbull Cost?
Spaying a Pitbull costs an average of $50 to $500. The cost will mainly depend on the dog’s age and size of the dog as older, larger dogs will cost more to spay. It will also depend on where the dog will be undergoing the procedure as reputable veterinarians and high-end clinics will cost more.
How Long Do Pitbull Pregnancies Last?
Pitbull pregnancies can last from 59 to 70 days. However, it’s very common for the dog to deliver on the 63rd day from the beginning of ovulation. It might be difficult for breeders and owners to determine the pregnancy schedule and exact day of birth if you’re not keeping track of its ovulation.
How to Tell If Your Pitbull Is Pregnant?
To tell if your Pitbull is pregnant, you need to look out for some signs such as its nipples becoming slightly darker and more rounded in shape, frequent nausea and vomiting, lack of energy, and sudden changes in temperament. Keep in mind that most signs of pregnancy won’t show until the dog is over 40 days pregnant.
Is Spaying Pitbulls Legal?
Spaying Pitbulls is legal in the United States and it’s even mandatory in various states. However, there are many activists that consider it unethical to have your dog undergo this procedure unless there’s a medical reason, not just to control the dog population or for convenience.
What To Know About Dogs in Heat
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