Like eating, drinking, feeding, walking, running, sleeping, and awaking, estrus is also a normal body response. Most people get worried when they come across the event of estrus also known as the German Shepherd heat cycle.
It is especially a worrying and troublesome event for the owners who have their first interaction with the female German Shepherds. Knowing about the normal event of estrus is necessary and is helpful for those who are in the first interaction.
What is a German Shepherd heat cycle? The heat cycle also known as Estrus is a 4 stages phenomenon comprising of proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus seen in a female GSD when it acquires its first period or when she bleeds for the first time. This time starts at the age of 4 months in most GSDs but may vary depending on the nutrition, age, and environment. Various changes like behavioral, clinical, hormonal, physiological, and cytological can be seen.
One must know about the time when his female German Shepherd will get matured and reach the age of puberty and show signs of heat. One must know the total period of heat, the signs that show puberty of a female dog, the number of estrus cycles in a year, and all the normal and abnormal parameters observed during the heat.
Here are the explanations of the events and answers to the above questions described one by one.
At what age do female German shepherds get their period?
The normal age at which a physiologically normal female German Shepherd gets its periods are 6 to 10 months of age. The age at which a bitch gets its first period is called the age of puberty. The first heat or the first bleeding of proestrus is called puberty.
It is a stage at which a female German Shepherd is able to reproduce and give birth to new offspring. This age or time of puberty may vary between 4 months to 2 years. Any bitch above 24 months is considered abnormal if she does not show any signs of heat.
How often do German shepherds go in heat?
We consider female German Shepherds nonseasonal. GSDs are also mono-estrus. GSDs do not show heat continuously and seasonally. The cycle of heat is about 6 to 7 months and it may vary depending on age, environment, and nutrition. So, a female German Shepherd undergoes heat 2 times a year.
It is possible only when a female German Shepherd is provided with proper nutrition, a healthy environment, and management. If the bitch is undergone a few of the stress factors, the estrus cycle will get disturbed and may increase or decrease than the normal average values.
For normal periods of estrus, provide a proper environment with normal healthy temperature humidity and well-balanced and nutritious feed. Consult your nearest veterinarian or dietitian for the formulation of a diet plan.
How often do German shepherds go in heat?
The German shepherd will exhibit different signs when it comes to heat. Following are the signs of heat. Signs are divided as follows:
|Sr. No.||Method of defining||Estrus signs|
|01||Behavioral||Bitch desires to mate with a male dog, spotting, scooting, be over-friendly, turn her tail to a side, licking of genitalia, mounting a male and other bitch, restlessness, change in posture, aggressive, irritable, change in feeding habits, anxious, depressed, lazy, hyper and withdrawn|
|02||Clinical||The vulva is swollen and soft. The straw color discharge (it may be blood, mucus, tissue debris or, lochia) is seen from the vulva. The vulva is enlarged.|
|03||Hormonal||GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) increases, FSH (follicle stimulating hormones) and LH (luteinizing hormone) increases, P4 (progesterone) increases and E2 (estrogen) decreases|
|04||Physiologic||Folliculization and luteinization occurs|
|05||Cytologic||90% cornified cells. Less red blood cells and few to no white blood cells.|
Do dogs bleed the whole time during the heat?
No, all the female German Shepherds do not bleed the whole time when they are in heat. The bleeding starts at the start of the cycle during proestrus. During the whole proestrus, the bleeding continues.
It ends near the time of mating. After mating, there is no discharge of blood seen in bitches. This lasts for 7 to 10 days only.
The bleeding in bigger dogs is higher while in smaller dogs it is less. All the females do not bleed equally. Some bleed heavily while some do not.
It is not a sign to get nervous and panic. It is a normal physiological response of a bitch towards its estrus cycle. It does not cause any kind of pain to your bitch during this type of bleeding. If you observe that your female German Shepherd is showing obvious signs of pain, take her to the nearest veterinary clinic.
What are the 4 stages of a dog in heat?
There are four stages of heat. These stages of heat are medically termed the estrus cycle. They are as follows:
Proestrus is a stage at which a bitch shows changes in signs related to behavior and body physique. One can observe serosanguineous (it contains serum and blood) discharge from the vulva and its swelling. This discharge should not have a blood or foul smell in it. This is of 9 days on average. This stage lasts between 0-17 days.
Estrus is also called the standing heat stage. It lasts between 3-21 days. On average it is of 9 days. At this stage, Female German Shepherd allows the male to mount and breed. The discharge shifts from serosanguinous to straw color and the vulva gets softened. Bitches mount each other as well.
Diestrus is the stage that comes after estrus if a female German shepherd gets bred. The discharge turns milky initially and then gets stopped. This may last 60 days even. The attraction of male dogs towards Female German Shepherd is also ended. The bitch gets a little lethargic.
Anestrous is the stage of reproductive dormancy. As the word indicates, ‘’An’’ means ‘’no’’ and ‘’estrus’’ means ‘’heat’’. It is a stage of no heat. At this stage, hormonal changes occur in a female body. The body gets prepared for the next cycle. This stage may last for 4.5 months. The next cycle comes in 7 months. Vulva decreases in size.
It is concluded that estrus is not an abnormal phase of the life of a female German Shepherd. It is a normal incident. During this phase, several types of changes including behavioral, clinical, hormonal, physiological, and cytological are observed.
Bleeding and different types of discharges are seen which are not the signs to get panic and worry. These are the normal physiological responses. The swelling of the vagina is not a sign of disease.
All the signs like, bleeding, mounting other male dogs, and bitches and discharges are the signs that make you sure that your beloved pet is in heat and needs to mate her partner.
In case of any unobvious and unwanted signs, do contact your nearest veterinary hospital and consult your pet doctor for the underlying condition.
- Clinical Canine and feline reproduction by Wiley Blackwell