A dog’s heat cycle lasts for three weeks or 21 days to be exact. During that period there are actually only three to four days when she can actually breed with success and get pregnant.
The problem is if you do not want your dog to become pregnant that it is very hard to tell exactly which days those are. If you are interested in breeding your dog your veterinarian will be able to pinpoint the ovulation days or you can do it yourself by buying a test called the “Premate Test” which reputable breeders claim to be very accurate.
Female dogs go into heat approximately every six months but like everything else there are exceptions to the rules, some may be “in season” only once a year some more often than twice a year. This is especially true with females that spend time around other females that may be in heat such as in a breeder type situation.
One of the first signs that your female dog is going into heat is that she is paying a lot of extra attention to her tail and genital area, licking and sniffing. You may also notice some swelling and dark red blood when the heat cycle begins in earnest. Some female dogs never exhibit bleeding as a symptom of heat so do not assume your dog is not in heat if you do not see this.
This is referred to as a “dry” heat. Your female can still get pregnant at this time. The second week of the heat is when she will be most interested in mating, urinating frequently to attract every dog within a twenty mile radius it seems. Never leave he outside unattended even with a fence as the males will either find a way in or she will find a way out, the call of nature is extremely strong.
For cleanliness purposes consider using a pair of the dog panties sold for this purpose or simply insert a Maxi-thin pad into a small pair of child’s underwear. Change the pad as necessary and don’t forget to remove the pants when she goes out to relieve herself. Using the store brand sanitary pads is a much cheaper alternative than buying the pad’s they sell in the large pet-care stores.
If you do not want your dog to have puppies or continue going through messy heat cycles then taking her to your veterinarian to be spayed which is an everyday operation in which her uterus and ovaries are removed. With the overpopulation of unwanted pets today, breeding more should be well thought out in advance anyway. That said I am still a firm believer in breeding a beautiful dog that is free from genetic health problems and aggressiveness.