Female dogs will go into their first heat cycle between 6 and 12 months of age. A dog that does not come into heat is missing out on one of the most important aspects of her life.
Heat cycles allow her to reproduce and fulfill her role as a member of the canine species. If your dog is not coming into heat, it’s important to find out why and try to find a solution.
There are many possible reasons why a dog may not go into heat. Let’s explore notable causes, what to do if your dog does not go into heat, as well as how to prevent it from happening.
Why is my dog not coming into heat?
Possible reasons why your dog is not coming into the heat include:
1. Underlying medical conditions
Your dog may not be coming into heat because of an underlying medical condition. One common example is hypothyroidism, which can cause a host of problems, including infertility.
If your dog has never been in heat before and is already at an age she should be going into heat but isn’t, you need to seek veterinary help to check if the reason could be an underlying medical condition.
Other medical conditions that can cause a dog to miss its heat cycles include diabetes, Cushing’s disease, and ovarian cysts.
2. Being overweight or underweight
Another possible reason your dog is not coming into the heat is if she is overweight or underweight. Ideal body weight is necessary for a bitch to properly go through her heat cycle.
An overweight dog may not go into heat because her body cannot support the normal hormonal changes that occur during a heat cycle. On the other hand, if your dog is too thin, she may also miss her heat cycles because she doesn’t have enough body fat to support the normal hormonal changes.
The best way to determine if your dog’s weight is the reason why she’s not coming into heat is to take her to the vet for a check-up. The vet will be able to tell if your dog is at a healthy weight and whether or not her weight could be causing the problem.
Stress is another cause of abnormal heat in dogs, including absent heat. Several things can cause stress in dogs, including changes in the home such as a new baby or pet, changes in the family’s schedule, moving to a new house, and even going to the groomer.
Stress can disrupt a dog’s heat cycle. If you think stress might be the reason your dog is not coming into heat then try to identify the cause of the stress and find appropriate solutions.
For example, if your dog is stressed because of a new baby in the house, try to provide the dog with a quiet place to retreat when she needs some time away from the excitement.
Dogs start to miss heat cycles as they get older. The hormones that trigger a heat cycle begin to decline as a dog ages. There’s no need to worry if your dog is not coming into heat because of age.
It’s a normal part of the aging process and is nothing to be concerned about. It’s important to note that age affects each dog differently. Some old dogs may still go through heat cycles while others may not.
While female dogs do not go through menopause (like women do), those aged 8 years and above will experience heat cycles less. Don’t that get pregnant in old age are more at risk of suffering from pyometra, which explains why it’s advisable to stop mating from taking place.
Certain breeds of dogs are more likely to miss heat cycles than others. This is because their bodies cannot support the normal hormonal changes that occur during a heat cycle.
Breeds that are more likely to miss heat cycles include Chihuahuas, Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, and Miniature Schnauzers. If you have a toy breed dog, it’s important to know that she may not come into heat as often as other dogs.
What to do if your dog does not come to heat
While you may get worried because your dog is not coming to heat, it is no cause for alarm in most cases. There are various things you can do in case your dog has never been in heat before.
1. Visit the vet
The first thing you should do if your dog is not coming into the heat is to take her to the vet for a check-up. This will rule out any medical conditions that could be causing the problem. Be sure to tell the vet about any changes in your dog’s behavior or routine that might be affecting her heat cycles.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Another measure to take if your dog does not come to heat is to make sure she’s of the right weight, especially if she’s either overweight or underweight. The right weight will ensure she can go through a normal heat cycle without any complications.
3. Reduce stress
If stress is the reason your dog is not coming into heat, try to identify the source of the stress and take steps to reduce it. This will help get her heat cycles back on track.
While it’s not always possible to eliminate all the stress agents, there are some things you can do to help reduce stress, such as providing a quiet place for her to rest and relax when she needs some time alone.
How to prevent dogs from coming into heat
There are many ways of preventing your dog from coming to heat. Below we look at some of the most common ways to prevent your dog from coming into heat.
You can prevent your dog from coming into heat by getting her spayed. Spaying is a surgical procedure that removes a dog’s ovaries and uterus. This prevents dogs from going into heat and eliminates the risk of becoming pregnant.
If you decide to get your dog spayed, it’s important to do it before she reaches sexual maturity. This is typically around six months of age, but it can vary depending on the breed of the dog. A dog cannot be spayed while she’s in heat. You’ll have to wait until she’s out of heat.
2. Progestin implants
Another way to cause a lack of heat in female dogs is to get them a progestin implant. Progestin is a hormone that prevents dogs from going into heat. The hormone is released slowly over a period of time, typically around six months.
This method is not recommended for all dogs because it can leave some side effects such as weight gain and behavior changes. It’s advisable to talk to your vet in case you’re considering this option.
3. Hormone medications
There are also medications that can be used to prevent female dogs from going into heat. A drug called GnGH or Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormones is a good example and can be used as an injection or an implant. However, the drug has side effects such as weight gain and enlargement of mammary glands.
Benefits of preventing dogs from going into heat
While the most notable benefit of putting a stop to a dog’s heat cycle is that you never have to deal with unwanted pregnancies ever again, there are additional rewards any pet owner can still reap. Such benefits include:
1. Reduced risk of mammary and cervical tumors
Preventing a female dog from coming into heat, be it by spaying or using medications, limits the chances of them suffering from mammary and cervical tumors simply because their reproductive life will no longer be active. They do not mate or breastfeed, which reduces the risks of suffering these complications.
2. Reducing risks of labor complications
A pregnant dog can at times suffer from labor complications when the time comes to deliver. Some do not survive while others suffer injuries and complications that take a long time to heal. Such injuries and complications will yield unexpected medical expenses.
3. Reduced risk of suffering from pyometra
Apart from preventing pregnancy, spaying prevents pyometra, a serious and potentially life-threatening uterine infection that affects adult dogs who have not been spayed.
4. Helps keep vet bills down
When a female dog is spayed, you will eliminate costs you would otherwise incur if she wasn’t. They include pregnancy costs, the cost of finding homes for all the puppies, and additional costs you must incur due to frequent visits to the vet.
5. Prevents her wandering off
There are many risks when a dog wanders off. They include finding male dogs and mating which leads to unplanned pregnancy, getting lost, getting injured, being stolen, or ending up with the local authorities or even worse in a shelter home.
FAQs about lack of heat in dogs
Below, we answer some of the common questions asked about dogs coming into heat.
How can I tell if my dog is in heat?
Several signs indicate a dog is in heat, including a swollen vulva, bloody vaginal discharge, increased urination, and restlessness. If you notice any of these signs, your dog is likely in heat.
What medical conditions can cause a dog not to go into heat?
Several factors can cause a dog not to go into heat, including obesity, underweight, stress, and age. If you think a medical condition might be causing your dog not to come into heat, take her to the vet for a check-up.
How can I help my dog if she’s not coming into heat?
If your dog is not coming into the heat, the first thing you should do is take her to the vet for a check-up. This will rule out any medical conditions that could be causing the problem. Once you’ve ruled out a medical condition, you can try to reduce stress or help her maintain a healthy weight.
There’s likely no need to worry if your dog is not coming into heat. This is normal in older dogs and can be caused by factors like stress or weight problems. However, if you’re concerned about your dog’s lack of heat, it’s always best to take her to the vet for a check-up. This will ensure that there isn’t an underlying medical condition causing the problem.