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Can A Dog Get Pregnant When Not In Heat? Breeding 101

Can A Dog Get Pregnant When Not In Heat? Breeding 101

Owning a dog is a beautiful thing. It is sometimes almost unbelievable how a furry being on four legs can make our lives that much better.

When you are deciding on getting a dog, one of the main things that people tend to take into consideration is whether to get a male dog or a female dog.

For some people, that factor is not that important because they do not mind. Others might take this into consideration because owning a male and a female dog is not the same.

Female dogs might be a bit more complicated in some aspects, like getting pregnant. There are a lot of questions when it comes to female dogs and pregnancies. One of those questions is, ˝Can a dog get pregnant when not in heat?˝

If you are not planning on having a litter or becoming a breeder, then you need to know some of the stuff that we will mention here. There are quite a few things that we need to get through, so let’s start with the article.

Can A Dog Get Pregnant When Not In Heat?

pregnant dog in the hallway

This is one of the main questions that a dog owner might ask when they get a female dog. When it comes to these questions, there are two possible situations: either you want your pooch to have a litter or you might think that your dog got pregnant by accident.

Whatever the case might be, it is always good to research in detail.

NO! A dog can not get pregnant when not in heat. This might be a relief for some people, but you need to know other things as well.

For people who want a litter, they need to know when the cycle starts so that they are able to find a male in that period. For the people who do not want their female doggy to have a litter, they need to make sure that the schedule of their dog’s heat cycle is determined, and when to expect it.

This is important because some dogs will have a heat cycle that is not that noticeable like with some other dogs. If you do not notice that your dog is in heat, and it was jumped on by a male dog, your female pooch might get pregnant.

Other stuff needs to be discussed when it comes to this topic, so we prepared the main things you need to know about the dog’s heat cycle and how to notice it.

It Is Important To Know That Dogs Are Mono-Estrous

What does mono-estrous mean, you may ask? Well, this means that your female dog has only one breeding season per year. This might sound strange because some of you already know that a dog can have 2 or even 3 reproductive cycles.

This is true, but there is only one season where she can, for sure, get pregnant. The thing about this is that you just must know that this breeding season can come very early. Some dogs can get into heat when they are just 6 months old.

This will not be a good period for your dog to get pregnant because they are still young and might not have the needed experience or will to keep the puppies alive.

How Can You Know When Your Dog Is In Heat?

two husky dogs on the beach

Before we start with the signs, you need to know that there are a couple of phrases that people use for a dog being in heat.

Heat is one of the main ones, but you can also say that your dog is ovulating, being in season, and as the vets like to phrase it… the estrus cycle.

Knowing when your dog is in heat is important whether or not you want a litter of puppies. Pet parents need to make sure that over time, when the dog is exiting the puppy stage and entering adulthood, a schedule of the heat cycle is made.

It might take some time for a dog to get into the regular cycle, but always try to write down the period and the symptoms that you notice.

We are here to give you a list of what to expect and look for when your dog is entering the heat cycle so you can keep an eye on it.

Change In Behavior

This is something that can be tricky, depending on the dog. Most dogs will become more attached to you than usual. If your dog is already your little shadow, you might not be able to notice this that much.

But, there are some other things that you may notice, like them being angry at other dogs, especially male dogs. This behavioral change is because of the hormonal changes that they experience when they are in heat.

They also might get a bit more protective over pet owners and be a bit snappy towards strangers.

It is advised not to take your dog out a lot, especially among other dogs, in places like a dog park. It is better to keep them just around you and to take them on longer walks or places that you know don’t have dogs.

Dogs Will Show A Lot Of Interest Towards Your Dog

Two Dogo Argentino dogs sitting outdoors on a green grass and sniffing each other

In this period, your pooch will release a certain scent that will make other dogs very interested in her. Both males and females will be eager to sniff your dog, especially the male ones.

Male dogs may turn aggressive towards other male dogs because they will see getting attention from your female as competition. Females may also be a bit snappy and surround your pooch that is in heat.

Some dogs do not have a problem with all this attention while others might become defensive and snappy. This is not something that should worry you in the sense that your dog has become aggressive. They are just defending themselves because they probably feel overwhelmed.

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Discharge From The Vagina

Vaginal discharge is something that is the most known part of a dog being in heat, and it might be considered as one of the first signs. This is not necessarily true. This might be the first sign that we as dog owners notice.

It is considered that larger dogs will have a heavier discharge while smaller breeds have a lighter discharge that might almost be unnoticeable.

This will be different in every dog, and because of that, it is important to look out for other symptoms just to be sure, especially in the period when their heating cycle is not always at the same time.

The discharge will mostly be pinkish (or the color of blood). It can also sometimes be a bit darker red, depending on the dog.

Swollen Vulva And Nipples

This is something that you can notice easily. Dogs that have a longer coat might not show this as much, but you should check it around the time you think your dog might be in heat.

Swollen nipples are also a sign of dog pregnancy, but there will not be other signs like discharge and a swollen vulva.

The swollen nipples might scare some people and make them think that their dog is pregnant, but this is a normal sign of your dog being in heat. If you can’t notice any other symptoms that are connected to being in heat, you can always take your dog to the vet to make sure that your pooch is not pregnant.

Increased Urination

Whether you will notice this or not depends on how observant you are of your dog. If they are younger, they might have an accident in the house, but that is rare.

They might call you more often to take them out. But, some dogs will just urinate more often while they are already outside with you taking a walk. In this case, it might be hard to detect this behavior.

Your dog might also start to fart a lot. This also depends from dog to dog, but this is not something that is that common.

RELATED: Dog Urine Color Chart: What Does My Dog’s Pee Color Mean?

Stages Of Heat

labrador retriever sitting in nature

Dog heat cycles approximately last around 3 to 4 weeks, and they happen two or three times a year. But, the dog heat season lasts for about 3 to 4 days. This might sound confusing, but the heat season is the period when the chances of your dog becoming pregnant are the highest.

During the whole heat cycle, your dog can get pregnant as well, so this is good news for people who want a litter of puppies, but for people who don’t, they need to be on the lookout for those 3 or 4 weeks.

The first heat can appear only at the 6-month mark of your dog’s life. This can be defined as the first sign of the dog’s sexual maturity. The first time might be confusing and overwhelming for both you and your dog because everything is new. But, we advise you to write down everything from that point on, and to protect your dog even if you want a litter at some point.

The first heat cycle is not the suggested time for your dog to get pregnant because they are still too young to have puppies and take care of them.

A dog’s heat cycle has a process, and we think that you should know all the stages of that process so you can be better prepared.

The first stage (Proestrus): This is the stage where the vaginal discharge appears. You will notice in this period that male dogs will give your female dog a lot of attention. But, you need to know that the female pooch will still not be ready to mate in this period. This can last for 4 to 20 days.

The second stage (Estrus): The estrus stage is the stage when the female dog is interested in male dogs, and mating will most likely occur in this stage. You will also be able to notice a swollen vulva and even some discharge that is more yellow than red or pink. This lasts for 5 to 13 days.

The third stage (Metestrus or Diestrus): The only way to describe this stage is the stage after mating. At this stage, your dog might be pregnant. This lasts for 60 to 90 days. If your dog is pregnant, you can expect the pregnancy to last for about 60 to 64 days.

The fourth stage (Anestrus): This is the period when the dog is sexually and hormonally inactive. It lasts for around 2 to 6 months. The most common length of this stage is 4 months.

This might sound confusing at first, but it is always good to know.

How Do You Treat Your Dog During Her Heat Cycle?

dog sniffing his owner

There are a couple of things that you can do to help your dog go through her heat cycle with ease. Some things might be harder to accomplish because it is mostly up to your dog. This is more for behavioral changes.

The main goal is to make your pooch as comfortable as possible, and make sure that they know that you are always there for them.

There might be some moments when your beloved dog might misbehave. You need to be patient, and make sure to stay calm and not punish them. Never ever hit your dog because she might not forgive you later on.

Here are some of the things that you can do for your dog while she is in her heat cycle.

Adapt To The Mood Changes

There is a high chance that your dog might not leave your side during this period. Some people might find this behavioral change amazing while others might not like it as much. Whatever the case might be, you need to be there for your dog.

Try to give her a lot of kisses and cuddles. For dog owners who are busy and spend a longer period of time during the day out, you need to find someone who will be able to spend some time with the dog while you are gone.

There might also be a period when she does not want to be surrounded by other people, so you should try to respect that. She might stay in areas of the house where she will be able to be alone.

If you have kids, try to keep them away from the dog so they will not bother her. If the dog shows interest in being surrounded by kids, which can frequently happen, you need to organize a small cuddle session with the kids and the dog.

You might feel a bit left out, but don’t worry – your time will come for sure.

We want to say that if your dog normally sleeps in a kennel, try not to avoid her when she is in heat because she might feel lonely and uncomfortable.

Make Sure To Remove Her From Any Dogs

woman and her vizsla dog looking through the window

We have already seen that when females are in the heat cycle, they might not want attention from other dogs, especially from male dogs. This is the stage of the heat cycle when she is not yet ready to mate, and because of that, you will want to remove her from other dogs.

The best thing you can do at this point is to go to places where there are not a lot of dogs. This might be the best period of time to create some bonding experiences between you and your dog.

Taking some walks or just hanging out together is the perfect thing for your dog in that period.

Control Their Attention Towards Males

This is the period when they start to crave male dog attention because they want to mate and reproduce. When it comes to this period, dog owners who do not want any puppies need to work a bit harder.

If you live in a house that has a yard, then you need to make sure that your pooch will not run away. Even when you want to have puppies, you need to make sure that you find the right male, so you need to protect your dog from other males.

To Sum It All Up

male and female beagle kissing

Can a dog get pregnant when not in heat is a perfectly normal question that dog owners can ask themselves. It is always good to do some research, and we applaud you for that.

The heat cycle can be overwhelming for any dog no matter the size or breed. Giant breeds might have a bigger discharge, for example, but they will have the same behavioral change, which will cause difficulty at times.

When your puppy is 6 months of age, it can get into its first heat cycle, but you should not use that period to get your dog pregnant. Even if you want to breed dogs, you should know that the dog is still too young to get pregnant.

If you are certain that you do not want your dog to ever have a litter of puppies, you can always opt for spaying as a solution for that.