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When Do Pitbulls Go into Heat? Stages & Signs to Watch For

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Pitbulls are a popular breed of dog, known for their strength and loyalty. If you have a female Pitbull who hasn’t been spayed you’ll want to know when they are likely to go into heat, what the signs are and how you can best care for them during this time. Pitbull females usually go into their first heat cycle between 6 and 12 month of age.

In this article we answer all the questions and discuss everything you need to know about your Pitbull’s heat cycle.

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When Do Pitbulls Go into Heat?

When a female dog reaches puberty their reproductive cycle starts. In Pitbulls and other dogs this is called estrus or being in heat. Pitbulls typically have their first heat cycle between the ages of 6 and 12 months and then typically go into heat twice a year.2 Signs that your Pitbull is in heat include a swollen vulva, a bloody discharge and changes in behavior. You may notice them licking their back end more than normal. Behavior changes can vary between different dogs, they may mount and hump, be over friendly to other dogs or can become more anxious. They often stand and move their tail to one side when touched.

What to Do During Your Pitbull’s Heat Cycle?

Your Pitbull will be hormonal and so may be feeling a bit out of sorts! Keep her happy and distracted by playing with her, keeping her occupied in the house ( for example with a dog safe chew) and taking her on calm walks. When she is in heat it is important to prevent unwanted pregnancy by keeping her on a lead and away from other dogs on walks. She must be completely separate from any unneutered male dogs, even if they live together or are related.

pitbull on a leash lying on sand
Image Credit: Jools Theriault, Pixabay

What Supplies Will I Need to Care for My Pitbull During Her Heat Cycle?

No specific supplies are needed to care for your Pitbull during her heat cycle. If you choose to invest in doggy diapers , make sure you change them frequently and keep the skin clean and dry.

What Products Can I Use to Help Clean Up Any Messes My Pitbull Leaves During Their Heat Cycle?

To keep your house clean you may want to limit your pup’s access to carpeted areas and sofas. There are also several specialized products available that are specifically designed to help with cleaning up any messes left by your dog during their heat cycle as well as at any other time. These products usually contain ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar, or an enzymatic formula which can help neutralize odors and disinfect the area.Divider 2

What Should I Do If My Pitbull Gets Pregnant While in Heat?

If your Pitbull is mated during their heat cycle, it’s important to reach out to your vet as soon as possible. Your vet can offer advice on the available options and how to proceed.

Is There Anything I Can Do to Prevent My Pitbull from Going into Heat?

The best way to prevent your Pitbull from going into heat is by getting them spayed. This will also provide other health benefits for your dog including reducing the risk of mammary tumors and preventing them from developing a pyometra which is a serious infection in the uterus. Discuss with your veterinarian about the best timing to spay your Pitbull.

pitbull close up
Image Credit: 6890623, Pixabay

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Other FAQs About the Pitbull Heat Cycle

How old should a Pitbull be before they go into heat?

Pitbulls have their first heat when they reach puberty which is usually between the ages of 6 and 12 months.

How can I tell when my Pitbull is finished with their heat cycle?

The heat cycle usually lasts between 2 and 4 weeks but varies in different dogs. When the cycle is over your Pitbulls vulva will return to its normal size and there will be no more bleeding or discharge.

Is it possible to spay a Pitbull while it is in heat?

Yes but it is not usually recommended as it increases the chances of complications as there is a lot more blood flowing to the area. It is usually better to wait until 2-3 months after the heat cycle is over. Speak to your vet to decide on the best time to spay your pup.

What can I do if my Pitbull is showing signs of distress during their heat cycle?

If your Pitbull is exhibiting signs of anxiety or discomfort, you should contact your vet who can provide advice as to what is or isn’t normal and provide treatment if necessary.

Will my dog have a period?

Unspayed female dogs do have a regular cycle and bleed once they reach puberty. In dogs this cycle is called an estrus or heat cycle , rather than a menstrual cycle.

What if my dog is bleeding during her heat cycle?

Some bleeding during a heat cycle is normal, and it can vary quite a lot between individuals. The cycle often starts with heavier reddish discharge and then fades to pink/watery spotting later on. However, if you notice any unusual or excessive bleeding or discharge, contact your vet right away.

sad pitbull
Image Credit: dillondygert, Pixabay

Is my Pitbull fertile while they are in heat?

Yes, your Pitbull is fertile during their heat cycle and can become pregnant if mated.

Do all dogs go into heat?

Barring any major reproductive issues, all female dogs will go into heat if they are unspayed.

What should I feed my Pitbull while they are in heat?

Your Pitbull can eat their normal diet while they are in heat. As at all times we recommend a high quality complete, balanced dog food. If you mate your Pitbull and they become pregnant, speak to your vet about their nutritional needs.

Is it okay for my female dog to play with male dogs while she is in heat?

No, it is not a good idea to let your female dog interact with male dogs while she is in heat as it could lead to an unwanted pregnancy if the male dogs are not neutered.

Can I bathe my Pitbull during their heat cycle?

Yes, bathing your Pitbull during their heat cycle is safe. However, you should take care to avoid the genital area which may be more sensitive during this time.

Are there any other medical issues I should look out for while my Pitbull is in heat?

If you see an unusual/ white discharge this could be a sign of infection so always get your Pitbull checked by your vet.

white pitbull close up
Image Credit: Chris Anabalon, Shutterstock

Is There Anything Else You Should Know About Your Pitbull’s Heat Cycle?

Yes, it is important to keep an eye on your dog for any signs of distress or discomfort during their heat cycle. Additionally, you should contact your vet if you notice any unusual behavior or changes in their eating or drinking habits. Lastly, if you aren’t planning on breeding your Pitbull, it is important to spay your dog as soon as possible to avoid any unwanted pregnancies.

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Knowing when your Pitbull goes into heat and what to do during that time can help ensure their safety and comfort. Keeping them away from other dogs, giving them plenty of exercise, and monitoring their health closely are all important steps that should be taken during their heat cycle. By understanding your Pitbull’s unique needs, you can provide them with the best care possible.

Featured Image Credit: 215646, Pixabay

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