How to tell if your dog is in heat?

How do you know if your dog is in heat? One of the easiest ways to tell, is to look for heat symptoms, however, while they work in most cases, sometimes they may not be reliable enough, or they may not be apparent. In this article you will learn about different ways how to tell if your dog is in heat:

  • How to tell if your dog is in heat?Symptoms will tell you enough in most cases. There are many symptoms of heat in dogs, but the most recognizable ones are swollen vulva, read discharge from the vulva, increased urination and restlessness. However, there may be cases, like silent heat, when you may miss the symptoms, or even confuse them with something else. While good enough in most cases, if you want to breed your dog, relying on symptoms may not be enough.
  • Vaginal cytology is the most reliable method of identifying heat cycle in dogs. That is, a small sample of vaginal tissue is taken from your dog in a veterinary setup and put under the microscope. What a veterinarian can see then is, whether those cells are expanded, thus, if the heat cycle has started. This is considered a somewhat reliable method to tell if you dog is in heat.
  • Hormonal tests will tell if your dog is in heat with even higher accuracy. As you may know, heat cycle is induced by hormonal fluctuations, and measuring the levels of estrogen and progesterone is a very reliable way to tell if a dog is in heat. However, the biggest downside for this is its cost; therefore, you should consider them only if you intend to breed your dog. Tests help not only to confirm the heat, but also to assess the best day for breeding.

A final thing to consider, most dogs go into heat twice a year, and many are working like a clock. Every six months, owners are already expecting their dog going in heat. And yes, in most cases, simply looking at symptoms if you know when to look for them, is enough to tell if the dog is in heat. Veterinary help may be necessary if you either want to breed your dog, or if your dog had problems before. Do you need more information? Read our article series about female dogs in heat!