Signs a Labradoodle is in heat

6 Signs a Labradoodle is in Heat

If you’re the owner of a female Labradoodle it’s quite important that you know the signs a Labradoodle is in heat. Being “in heat” is the terminology used for the window of time during the year when she can get pregnant.

The 6 most common signs that a Labradoodle is in heat are: 1) bleeding or other discharge, 2) a swollen vulva 3) excessive licking of the genital area, 4) abnormal mounting behavior, 5) increased urinating, and 6) nesting behavior.

If you’re not able to tell these signs, then you might end up with a pregnant dog, and an unwanted litter of puppies. And if your dog is either too young or too old, this could put her at great risk of some serious health issues and undesirable expenses to a vet.

When Does the Heat Cycle Start for Labradoodles

Normally a Labradoodle goes into heat at the start of spring and then again in the fall. When the first heat cycle being will usually depend on precisely when your dog was born.

When your Doodle begins her first cycle, you can typically count on them to be quite regular for her for the rest of her life. It’s a good idea to keep track of exactly when you expect her to go into heat every time. This allows you to prepare and plan appropriately to dodge any unwanted pregnancies and the accompanying unnecessary risks.

It’s not unusual to see a small dog going into heat for the first time when they are only 6 months old, but a bigger dogs‘ heat cycle is usually different. So if you‘re just reading about general “canine” heat-cycles, you might get information that refers to dogs different from a Labradoodle.

Normally, Labradoodles will start their first heat-cycle when they are around 1-year-old. In some cases it’s not unheard of it starting as early as 9 months old and as late as 15 months for others.

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Common Signs A Labradoodle Is In Heat

Below I’ll go into more detail of the common signs of a heat cycle to help you determine where your dog is in her cycle. You could use a calendar to keep track of each cycle to help you better judge when you can expect the next cycle to occur.

Bleeding or Other Discharge

Discharge or bleeding is one of the easiest signs that your female dog is in heat, and it’s quite important to watch out for this as it indicates that your Labradoodle is ready to be bread.

I would advise that you for the discharge turn clear for a few days, before introducing a male dog to your female, and then let them meet 2 to 3 times over the course of a week.

Swollen Vulva

This is something that isn’t painful to your dog, and it will typically start a day or two before your dog starts experiencing any discharge in the Proestrus Stage.

Licking Genitals

A lot of experts believe that this is method a dog uses to keep herself as clean as possible.

Others also seem to believe that the reason is simply due to those areas becoming more and more sensitive with the extra blood flow they experience during this phase.

Abnormal Mounting Behavior

This is something that can be quite tricky to spot as you’ll find a female dog that starts some kind of mounting no matter what stage they’re on in their heat cycle.

So what you’ll have to look out for is an increase in this behavior. Perhaps your dog will start mounting more and more often, and in many different circumstances.

Increased Urination

It should be no surprise that dogs use urination to mark their territory. And where males will do this as a method to establish hierarchy, females use this as a way to display to other dogs that they are in heat.

But it might also be a sign that your Doodle has some kind of UTI. So if you know that your dog isn’t about to go into heat, Make sure you get it checked immediately.

Nesting Behavior

Dogs are burrowing animals by nature, so if you have a female dog that’s getting herself ready for a possible pregnancy, don’t be surprised if you notice her starting to prepare a place to whelp a litter of puppies.

You might notice that she starts dragging some or most of her toys and many other of her essential items to this nest, and she will also start sleeping with these things close by.

Explaining The Canine Heat Cycle

While different breeds will have different timings, the heat cycle is always the same and consists of the:

  1. Proestrus Stage
  2. Estrus Stage
  3. Diestrus Stage
  4. Anestrus Stage

Proestrus Stage

This is the stage where your Labradoodle starts her cycle, and this will last 9 days on average.

Your dog will start attracting male dogs in this phase already, but she won’t be receptive just yet.

You will also notice your dog will start having bloody discharges during this stage.

Estrus Stage

During the Estrus stage, your female dog will start becoming receptive to males and they are now able to get pregnant.

The discharge will go from being bloody to a watery and clear color instead.

This is the signal that the female can now get pregnant, and this stage can depending on your specific dog, last an average of 10 to 12 days.

Diestrus Stage

During this stage, your Doodle won’t be receptive to males and can’t get pregnant either.

The Estrogen levels will be very low for around two months, and the progesterone level will climb instead, only to peak about 1 month after the end of the Estrous stage, before ultimately declining again.

Anestrus Stage

This final stage is where the estrogen levels will finally return back to the normal amount between cycles and stay at that level for around 4 to 5 months.

This period will allow your dog to fully recover after having given birth to a litter of puppies.


Taking Care of a Labradoodle in Heat

If you have a female Labradoodle that’s about to go into heat, you will soon discover that it can be a full-time job to look after her. Every male in the neighborhood can tell that she is in heat, and they will do whatever they can to mate with your dog.

Some of my friends with female dogs have told me how they’ve had neighbor dogs getting themselves stuck in their fence, trying to get to their dog, only to find they couldn’t get through the fence and instead end up getting stuck.

And when they tried to get the dog unstuck, he would growl and snap at them, so getting him out of the fence was quite the challenge.

Luckily they kept their female dog in a kennel with a roof on so there was no way he would be able to mount her anyway, but that certainly didn’t stop him from trying.

One thing I would strongly advise that you do to protect not only your dog but also your home is to put her in a diaper for dogs.

Not only will these diapers help keep your carpet clean from blood spatters, but they can also work as a modern-day chastity belt for your pup as no male dog will be able to mate with her when the diaper is in place.

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They all told me they prefer the washable diapers by far compared to regular disposable diapers as they not only amounts to mountains of trash but also spend most of the year taking up space in their homes.

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How To Avoid Pregnancy During the Cycle

Besides purchasing plenty of diapers, there are additional steps you can take to prevent your dog from getting pregnant. As our friends did with their female in heat and made sure she was mostly kept in a kennel that had a closed top.

An important step is to first know just when your dog is likely to go into heat. Consider marking the day in a calendar, and give or take a week of leeway of your expected date.

Then the next time you notice the date coming up in your calendar, replace the sheet on your dogs’ bed with a clean new white one. You will quickly be able to spot if the bleeding has started.

Another good friend of you for the next approximately 3 weeks, will be a lock and key. While locking your dog in your home for weeks isn’t exactly the most fun thing for a dog, you really have to make sure you don’t leave her unattended in places where there’s even a slight risk that a male dog might be able to get close to her.

Another option you might consider if you suspect that one of the dogs’ in the neighborhood for some reason or another have had access to her without you watching, is that you can get morning-after pills for dogs. But I wouldn’t recommend you do, as there are several proven side effects to using them, and the only reason I mention them is that they exist and I’ve heard other people using them occasionally.

The final, and most permanent solution, is to have your dog spayed. Having a veterinatian remove her ovaries can have several benefits, besides removing the risk of any unwanted pregnancy.

For starters, removing the ovaries will make sure the risk of ovarian cancer is completely gone.

If you want to know more about having your dog “fixed”, check out this article that goes into more detail with “fixing” a Labradoodle, but also a lot of the myths that’s associated with doing so.

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The bottom line of the article is that you should never get this procedure done before your dog is 1 year old, as you might risk serious issues if you do it too soon.

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