Humans and dogs have some biological commonalities, but the commonalities need to be handled and evaluated differently. When it comes to the menstrual cycle, the common point should be handled completely in line with the differences. Knowing when female dogs will age also helps to understand whether changes occurring in female dogs are normal or due to an illness. However, trying to link menopause and age in female dogs is misleading.
Understanding the Oestrus Cycle in Dogs
Basically, dogs do not go through menopause like humans do. In other words, the condition called menopause, which occurs with the end of the production of some hormones in humans, does not occur in dogs. The hormones that cause menopause are estrogen and progesterone. In humans, the absence of a menstrual cycle for 1 year is considered menopause, and pregnancy does not occur after menopause. In dogs, the situation is handled completely differently.
Female dogs have a cycle just like humans do. The so-called estrous cycle in dogs occurs every 6 to 9 months, depending on the dog’s age, breed, and health. Unneutered female dogs have their vulva swollen during heat and blood comes from their vaginal openings. Although this situation is considered as menstruation in dogs, the process is not like in humans. The menstrual period in dogs lasts between 10 and 27 days. This process is part of the estrus period. The estrus period can last up to 4 weeks in total. The estrous cycle, or estrus time in the reproductive cycle, is the time given to female dogs when they are ready to mate and become pregnant.
Do Dogs Develop Menopause?
“Do female dogs go through menopause?” by looking at the estrous cycle of dogs. You might think that the answer to your question is yes. However, the situation is much different than expected and menopause does not occur in dogs. Unneutered female dogs go into heat once or twice a year for the rest of their lives. As the number of estrus increases in older dogs, the risk of pyometra increases. Pyometra is a serious condition that can endanger life. When pyometra symptoms are seen in dogs, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian without wasting time. Pyometra is an infection in the uterus, causing vaginal bleeding. This situation can easily be confused with the anger cycle by dog owners.
Some owners of non-neutered dogs may not realize how often their dog is in heat. They may also think that their dog is in menopause when there is no vaginal bleeding for a year. However, older dogs that have not been neutered do not go into heat as often as younger dogs. The time between periods of heat gradually increases, but this does not mean that they have entered menopause. Therefore, “What age do dogs enter menopause?” there is no answer to the question.
Vaginal bleeding in dogs is not just caused by anger or pyometra. Urinary tract infections, bladder stones, bladder cancer, uterine cancer, tumors and other inconspicuous conditions can cause vaginal bleeding. Bleeding can occur especially when urinating or after lying down for a long time.
Oestrus in Neutered Dogs
In sterilization procedures, the reproductive system of dogs, especially the ovaries and uterus, is removed. This procedure is called ovariohysterectomy. Spaying is usually done at 6 months of age. In some cases, only the ovaries or only the uterus are removed. However, even after such a procedure, vaginal bleeding does not occur in the estrous cycle. Neutered dogs do not enter the heat period, there is no vaginal bleeding, pregnancy does not develop and pyometra is not seen.
Risks of Unneutered Dogs
Unneutered dogs are at increased risk for certain diseases, but many owners are unaware that not neutering can pose health problems for their dogs. Unneutered dogs are more likely to develop health problems such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and pyometra. These are conditions that can seriously endanger the dog’s health. For this reason, it is recommended that female dogs be neutered. For more detailed information about neutering in dogs, “What are the Benefits and Harms of Neutering?” You can read our blog post.